House Dems Told to Pony Up for Kanye Show

Senate rules OK the freebie; House says it's an ethics violation
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2008 8:00 AM CDT
Delegates wave as the official panoramic picture is taken at the Democratic National Convention in Denver yesterday.    (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Tonight's Kanye West concert at the Democratic Convention is the unlikely source of an ethics quandary, ABC News reports, as Senate Democrats attend for free while the House is making staffers pay up. Under new rules intended to reduce the influence of lobbyists, members of Congress aren't allowed to take gifts beyond a very limited amount. Senate ethics interpreters say the concert comes under an exception for events "widely attended" and "connected" to official duties.

Just because it's at the convention doesn't make it an official duty, House members argue. Rather than skip the concert, sponsors—Bono's ONE Campaign and the Recording Industry Association of America—suggest they pay "fair market value" to get in. "We came here to nominate a president and have a good time," one chief of staff told the Washington Post. "The fact that I have to drop $90 is not going to blow my good time."