Last week came word that Missouri Congressman Sam Graves is the subject of an ethics inquiry.
Earlier this year, Graves invited a friend to testify before Congress on renewable fuels. Graves did not mention that his wife and the friend, Brooks Hurst, are partners in a company that invests in renewable fuels.
Democrats are braying about lies and lined pockets. But as Congressional sins go, inviting a northwest Missouri farmer to talk about the uses of glycerin seems a minor crime, even if the farmer also happens to be a business partner.
What's getting less attention is the fact that Graves and his buddies are right-wing fart machines at the same time they participate eagerly in government programs.
Careful readers of The Kansas City Star may recognize the name Hurst from the paper's op-ed page. A farmer and greenhouse grower in Tarkio, Missouri, Blake Hurst has contributed the occasional article blasting Al Gore and the Endangered Species Act. In 2004, he wrote a piece warning of gay marriage's threat to civilization.
Brooks Hurst and Blake Hurst are brothers. And like their friend and neighbor Sam Graves, they receive farm subsidies from the federal government.
The two Hurst boys were paid more than $589,000 from 1995 to 2006, according to Environmental Working Group. Their father, Charlie, collected $400,248 over the same period.
Sam Graves' take: $413,000.
In addition to direct subsidies, the Hurst and Graves families benefit from the federal bioenergy programs that make renewable fuels an investment worth considering.
But health care for poor children? Only if they're really poor. In 2004, Blake Hurst wrote a piece praising Missouri Republicans for holding the line on Medicaid spending. In 2007, Graves voted against a bill reauthorizing the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
So to recap. Government sucks. Except when it's propping up places like Tarkio. Then it kicks ass.