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Maxine Waters Whacked, Barney Frank Untouched: Jonathan Weil

For all the strange details to emerge in the Maxine Waters bank-bailout scandal, this one might be the most surprising: It turns out members of Congress are prohibited from doing “special favors” for anyone, even if they receive nothing of value in return.

Who knew? Here I had been living under the impression that handing out special favors is something Washington lawmakers do all the time -- be they free pens, tax breaks or earmarks. And, of course, it is.