Sunday, January 07, 2007

PA No Longer Sweetens the Senate

As previously mentioned, former Sen. Rick Santorum kept a stash of chocolate and other sweets in his desk and handed them out to his fellow senators. The Wall Street Journal provides a little more information, and gives the fate of the designated “candy desk.” (in New Senate, The ‘Candy Desk’ Gets a Kiss-Off,” by Sara Lueck, 1/05/07).

It seems the desk is one usually assigned a low ranking Republican (the sweet spot is the desk, not the person sitting in it); it is in a “heavily trafficked area near the exit to the elevators.” The new desk occupant is Sen. Craig Thomas of Wyoming, and that presents problems. As the WSJ points out:

Ethic rules forbid member accepting gifts worth $100 or more a year from a single source. One exception covers items produced in a senator’s home state – so long as they’re used primarily by people other than the senator or his staff.

During Sen. Santorum’s term at the candy desk Hershey and Just Born, among other Pennsylvania companies, supplied the treats. Unfortunately Wyoming is not as similarly blessed with confectionary industries. Two of the possible items the state’s smaller candy businesses could send include
“moose doodles (chocolate covered almonds shaped just like moose droppings) and bison balls (round Rice Krispies treats dipped in chocolate, sold in packages of two).”

Ummmm, I think I’ll pass on those, thanks.

The article gives a history of the candy desk and outlines some strategies being considered for keeping the tradition going.

I’m filing this under “intriguing but odd.”


phillydem said...

I'm not surprised our state's numerous candy-makers sent goodies to Santorum who very nicely stashed them in the "candy desk" for everyone to eat. What really struck me is that now the senators are scratching their heads on how to replenish the supply with freebies from Wyoming or some other source. Hasn't it occurred to the senators and staff they can do what many offices do and everyone who eats candy from the desk can kick a couple of bucks a week and they can actually BUY their own candy? I guess there's a ways to go before we
purge that entitlement mentality from the senate.

Doctor Rick said...

What's a' matter? Sour grapes?

phillydem said...

Nope, I supported and voted for Bob Casey. I just find it amusing that the idea hasn't seemed to occur to anyone that Senators and senate employees
can replenish the candy by the same arrangement many offices do for coffee messes for example. At my old office we had a pretzel fund in addition to the coffee mess.

AboveAvgJane said...

According to the article keeping the senate in candy runs into serious money and the smaller candy manufacturers in Wyoming are saying they can't afford to give that much away. One potential solutions is for each senator to ask for a certain amount free from their state to keep the desk stocked. The idea of paying for it out of pocket never seemed to occur to anyone.

The thought of keeping more nutritious food on hand doesn't seem to come to mind either. Maybe Dr. Rick's "sour grapes" will stir someone's imagination. Though I doubt anyone in the senate would want to sit at the "fruit desk."

phillydem said...

Hey, if everyone who eats candy from the desk, chips in a few bucks a week
into a "candy pool", that will add up to plenty of money to keep the goodies
flowing. All the senate needs is someone to take the responsibility of collecting the money and going out to buy the candy.

You got it, Jane, that the idea of paying for the candy never seemed to
occur to anyone.