President Obama’s Jobs Glitch


By Al Kamen

October 21, 2011

The gavel comes down

An excellent junket for federal judges is no more. The controversial Foundation for Research on Economics and Environment (FREE) — which since the early ’90s has taken hundreds of federal judges to beautiful Montana for a week of what critics called corporation-funded wining, dining and bemoaning the evils of environmental laws — is closing up shop.

The head of the foundation has decided to no longer invite the judges, Legal Times reported this week. The “handwriting had been on the wall” in recent years, said Doug Kendall, head of the pro-environment Constitutional Accountability Center, which has been leading opposition to FREE’s program.

In 2006, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. approved rules requiring FREE to disclose its corporate donors and judges who go to the seminars to report them within 30 days. In addition, a judicial ethics committee ruled that judges couldn’t sit on FREE’s board. The moves may have put too much sunlight on the junkets.

Not to despair. Black-robed folks looking for free junkets and cash can still give speeches at international or national conventions, universities, and other fine venues.

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