Normally I do not get upset about office holders having expensive fundraising dinners. They all do it. Usually it’s a $1,000-a-plate deal for wealthy donors. For another grand or so, you can have a picture taken with the office holder to hang on your wall to show how important you are and that you have more money than God. It’s just the way things are.
However, Sen. Mike Crapo has gone too far. He is having a fishing trip on the Chesapeake Bay and charging $10,000 to go fishing with him. For another $5,000 you can get dinner too. He is chairman of the Senate committee overseeing and legislating with regard to the banking industry, among other things near and dear to the hearts of Wall Street financial titans. They can afford these prices.
However, his action of charging $15,000 for a fishing trip and a meal not only looks bad, but is radically increasing the cost of fishing – and eating while you are fishing as well.
For a man who should be deeply concerned about budget deficits and inflationary impacts on our economy this is simply inexcusable behavior. I am a prime example of how these actions have impacted one of his constituents – me.
For the past few years, since my retirement from the bench, I have been fishing with my friend Dave. Dave has a small aluminum boat. We have fished together from his boat trying to catch perch, bass, crappie, trout and whatever else is biting. Since he provides the boat, I pay for breakfast at a nearby truck stop, which costs about $25 for the two of us. I have tried to pay for gas but he won’t usually let me, saying he would be buying it himself anyway, even if I were not going. Generally, he catches more fish than I do, which he really enjoys telling everyone. This happens because his worms usually catch more fish than my lures. He then gives me a worm or two and I start catching fish.
Dave read about Mike Crapo’s fishing trip. Now he is telling me he will give me a much better rate, considering we are in Idaho, of just $750 for each trip with a $250 beer and food allowance. He did say he would continue to pay for gas, but each worm in the future would cost $50. He also said he would clean each fish I caught for $100, pointing out, of course, that I didn’t catch that many fish for him to clean. He said I should be ecstatic with such a deal given what Sen. Crapo was charging. When I told him Sen. Crapo provided an autographed picture, he said that was no problem and he would even let me hold his fish in the picture so it would look like I caught them. He offered to do it for an added $300 charge.
We are still negotiating but I am looking for a possible new fishing partner. Be careful Sen. Crapo: In 2022 at these prices, the Idaho voters might do the same.
Mike Wetherell is a retired District Court judge and former Boise city councilman and State Democratic Party chair. He is a member of the Idaho Statesman editorial board.