Friday, May 16, 2003

Rights & Reason: Bill Clinton's interns never had this problem...

The Washington Times' John McCaslin reports on a new form of housing discrimination:

"Greetings from Snellville, Georgia!" Chuck and Linda Moseley write to Washington landlord Peter Kelley, whose name is listed in a directory of apartments on Capitol Hill.

"Our son is a rising senior at the University of Georgia. He has been chosen as a full-time Intern for [Georgia Republican] Congressman John Linder beginning Sept. 1, 2003, and ending Dec. 12, 2003. Please advise availability and any additional information you require. We will not be able to visit D.C. until after June 5, 2003 due to his classes. Thank you for your time."

Nice enough letter from the proud parents.

"Hello Moseleys," Mr. Kelley writes back. "Thank you for contacting us about your son staying at the Loj during his internship. I'm usually very encouraging of young people doing congressional internships and staying here while they do them.

"However, I do have to say that as a full-time employee of an environmental group, and as someone personally quite alarmed about the direction that Congress and the president are taking with the environment, I have concerns about Rep. Linder's record.

"He has a 5 percent score on the League of Conservation Voters environmental scorecard, and his Web site lists the following votes, all of which I deeply disagree with: Voted NO on raising CAFE standards, incentives for alternative fuels (Aug 2001); Voted NO on prohibiting oil drilling & development in ANWR (Aug 2001); Voted NO on starting implementation of Kyoto Protocol (Jun 2000).

"I am torn," concludes Mr. Kelley, "because I hope that your son will have a wonderful experience in Washington and I know that working for any congressman, even one with Rep. Linder's views, will be an invaluable experience that he will treasure his entire career.

"However, I would not feel right about having someone stay at our place who was working to advance views such as these, which I believe amount to abandoning our responsibility to future generations. And so I must decline your request for a room here."

McCaslin reports several lawyers have offered to file a lawsuit on the Moseleys over Kelley's "housing discrimination." Now, one can berate Kelley for his tying a housing rental to the occupant's political views, but in the end it's his property and his mistake to make. I wonder if Rep. Linder, a good conservative Republican, will rise to the defense of property rights, or whether he'll explout his intern's ploy for political purposes. Sadly, my money would have to go on the latter.

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