The Washington Establishment is never more comical than when it attempts to curb its own excesses. No sooner had the high-flying antics of White House chief of staff John Sununu stirred tongues to clucking on Capitol Hill than the tongue-cluckers found themselves targets of attention. It is, of course, no great new revelation that members of Congress luxuriate in government-subsidized air travel but it is nice to think that Mr. Sununu's peccadilloes may prompt reforms from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other.
President Bush has already let it be known he is unhappy with Mr. Sununu's self-indulgence and has ordered a review of travel arrangements for the Oval Office crowd. Now the General Accounting Office, a congressional watchdog agency, is to investigate not only the executive branch but -- get this! -- the legislative branch was well.
The Washington Bureau of The Sun has taken a look at what the House and the Senate choose to reveal about their own members. It is not much. Senators are required to list their past travels only on a quarterly basis without specifying the purpose of their trips or even taxpayer-paid transportation costs. The House is a little better, since its members are supposed to report their travel costs. Often, public disclosure comes a year after the fact, which gets many a lawmaker safely past the paltry 2 percent risk of not getting re-elected.