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`Trade mission' took lawmakers to Taiwan.

COLUMN: In our opinion; Editorial footnote

The newfound eagerness of members of Congress to distance themselves from special interests with deep pockets evidently is not shared by some members of the Massachusetts Legislature.

Four state senators and six representatives have just returned from a seven-day "trade mission" to Taiwan, with the airfare for the 20,000-mile roundtrip, accommodations and meals paid by the Taiwanese government. Enduring the exhausting 10- and 11-hour days and grueling succession of working meals were state Sens. Edward M. Augustus Jr., Gale D. Candaras, Mark C.W. Montigny and Stanley C. Rosenburg and state Reps. Ruth Balser, Thomas A. Golden Jr., William G. Greene Jr., Lida E. Harkins, Jay R. Kaufman and Mary S. Rogeness.

Make no mistake: The trip was legal and consistent with legislative ethics rules - and the peripatetic lawmakers' motives certainly were aboveboard.

Still, it would not be overly cynical to suggest that the government that footed the bill to bring them halfway around the world might have viewed the cost as an investment of sorts and the trip as more than simply an educational excursion.
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Title Annotation:EDITORIAL
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Feb 9, 2007
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