Privileges and payoffs

Ben Barnes is talking. But will anyone care?

Ben Barnes apparently has gone on camera for 60 Minutes confirming that he used his influence to get George H.W. Bush’s son into the Champagne Unit of the Texas Air National Guard. The younger Bush, of course — the one who doesn’t believe that America can win the war on terror — has repeatedly denied that any special influence was used.

I wonder if Dan Rather asked Barnes about Greg Palast’s report that Bush gave one of Barnes’s lobbying clients an extension on its no-bid contract to run the Texas Lottery (thus earning Barnes a $23 million fee) in return for Barnes’s silence.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: