U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, fresh from his landslide victory over Barry Fleming in the Republican primary election for the 10th District congressional seat, is holding a "Foreclosure Prevention and Education Forum" on Monday.
The forum, from 10 a.m. to noon at Augusta State University's student activities center, will feature representatives from government and private agencies with mortgage and financial information.
"We have been given an opportunity, with our current housing market troubles, to learn from past mistakes and use failures in the housing market as a lesson for future fiscal responsibility," Broun says in an announcement for the forum.
Good advice. Broun could use it himself.
And no, we're not talking about all his long-past personal financial problems hashed and rehashed during the race.
We're talking about the revelation this past week from Roll Call, the Capitol newspaper, that Broun has blown through most of the budget for operating his office and might have to get a bailout from fellow Republicans.
Where'd the money go? Well, remember those "robo calls" earlier this year from Broun that so many of you complained about? The blizzard of mailouts? Those communications were all funded by taxpayers from the money Broun receives to run his office.
Here's the meat of the story from Roll Call:
"According to House records, Broun spent $109,559 on mass mailings in the first quarter of 2008, making him the second-highest spender behind only Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), who recorded $111,122 in mailings.
"A review of Broun's mailings, copies of which are maintained by the Clerk of the House, shows a flurry of activity leading up to April 2008. Broun faced a July 15 primary challenge and was prohibited from sending mail within 90 days of that election.
"Leading up to that contest - in which he defeated state Rep. Barry Fleming with 71 percent of the vote - Broun signed off on 10 mass-mailed letters, along with two first-class mailings, a newspaper ad, seven e-mail newsletters and a telephone survey."
The fact that Broun personally saw to the grinding up of at least one rain forest to provide enough paper for his taxpayer-financed newsletters isn't news, of course. Everyone knew that and shrugged it off as beltway business as usual.
But the fact that he financed the early part of his re-election campaign with taxpayer dollars to the degree that his office could be forced to seek more money from the congressional trough to keep its doors open the rest of the year - isn't that just a wee bit troubling?
In any event, perhaps Broun will "learn from past mistakes" and take this episode "as a lesson for future fiscal responsibility."
At least he won't have to worry about his office going to foreclosure.
Lots of folks driving past the beautiful new building under construction for Church of the Holy Comforter on Furys Ferry Road have noticed a pine limb tacked to the front.
Like me, you've probably wondered: What the heck is that?
The Rev. Cindy Taylor, explains that the limb "comes from the European tradition of topping the highest point of a completed building with a tree.
"Why? she asks rhetorically. "I don't know - I'm an American."
Modern Steel Construction, an industry magazine, says placing trees on top of buildings under construction is a centuries-old tradition called "topping out." In this country, American flags often are used instead of evergreen limbs.
Incidentally, Taylor says, the current structure is the church's parish hall, and will be used as the interim sanctuary.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com, or call 706-863-6165, extension 106.
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