Veronica Roberts

Being fiscally responsible is the mantra of our Washington conservatives who have stalled on approving most aid, even relief for the storm battered victims of Hurricane Sandy. They want to “slash and burn” all social programs, including Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, housing and food programs for the poor, education—any and everything, that is, that doesn’t affect them directly.

They even want to negotiate the debt ceiling, of all things. So what do you call a bathroom renovation that cost a whopping $222,000? No, I'm not talking about his private bathroom at home. I'm referring to the one at work that you the taxpayer pay for.

For a minute I thought I was reading about Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein , the king of Jordan or one of the many extravagant dictators or monarchs past or present.

To my consternation, it was a George W. Bush cabinet member, one of the fiscally responsible Republican team, not the big spending Democrats—or so the accusation goes.

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne's $222,000 bathroom renovation reportedly included a $3,500 sub-zero refrigerator (yes, a fridge in his bathroom) and an almost $700 faucet. Kempthorne is making the lavish lifestyle of the rich and famous look austere. I guess the tissue holder, which was a mere $65 of taxpayer money, is not so bad? You decide: Do you have a $65 tissue holder and an expensive fridge in your loo? (Is that even sanitary?)

The makeover was done in 2007 and despite being investigated for four years by ABC News Atlanta affiliate WSB-TV, after they filed a Freedom of Information Act, has never made headlines until now.


Oh, where do I start with this one. Every time a Republican tries to block some measure under the guise of fiscal restraints, Democrats should stand up and hold up a picture of that bathroom. Every time they falsely accuse President Obama of racking up more spending than any other president in history, the bathroom photo should be brought out. This time a PowerPoint presentation might be in order.

While the power point presentation is rolling, I hope they include all the other not so fiscally responsible deals and spending they have indulged in over the Bush years and even before. Like decade long tax breaks, wars, bailouts, military spending, “pork and more pork?” After becoming bloated on all that meat, they now want to feed the entire country a diet of beans—except themselves of course. They are still eating choice fillets.