Politicians have to shell out all the time to look good. A few donations here, raffle tickets there, this charity, that charity, and it all adds up. Turns out it's not their personal money paying for all the good will after all.
Bertie Ahern has explained the means by which the savvy office-seeker makes himself look generous. Some donations made to his constituency office were sidetracked into his personal pocket, so that he could give to charity and make it look like he was contributing from his own coffers. Brilliant, isn't it.
What else can a politician do with the money that gets donated to his constituency funds? Well, he can contribute some of that cash to yet another worthy cause. For example, Mr. Ahern gave a bit to the "Help Celia Larkin's Parents Buy A House" charity drive, albeit in a roundabout way. 30,000 Irish pounds were drawn on the mysterious "BT" account that was supposed to be used to cover constituency expenses, and given over to help the elderly couple out of a tight spot. If a man can't help the elderly in need, what good is all that money?
Those same needy elderly paid back the money recently, but somehow the funds ended up in Fianna Fail's account and someone has to run to the bank to transfer the money into the BT account and then it's all square.
What makes the whole thing so mind-boggling is the fact that Mr. Ahern was the Minister for Finance at the time all this bank account/donation/walking-around money was floating through his fingers. If a man can't understand his own accounts and doesn't know where the money's come from or where it's going, is he at all qualified to manage the funds for an entire nation?