The European Parliament
I realize it’s very down-market to interrupt the serious intellectual discussion of Kal’s outstanding book with something is superficial as this – and I can’t plead any important and worthy policy issue, as with Deborah’s very interesting post – but I’m afraid I must ask our European readers whether the following reported rumor could possibly be true. It concerns Prime Minister Berlusconi, a prostitute, and … a seat in the European Parliament – something we lawyers call a quid pro quo. I redact, this being a family-friendly blog and all, everything below from The Awl. I make no claim about veracity (however, it has now been picked up by the BBC with more detail, thanks Martin the comments):
Patrizia D’Addario … finally explains exactly why she upset enough to come forth with her story:
He didn’t pay me, but he promised to send me two people to take care of a problem I had with planning permission which was blocking a building project. To me that was equal to earning €2,000 extra. That project was really close to my heart and he understood that, so I was satisfied. But that is not what happened. Instead he offered me a seat in the European Parliament.
The European Parliament?
(I admit, I feel a little sheepish at cluttering up OJ with this kind of trivia. On the other hand, governance issues of the European Union is our kind of topic, and I was struck by the fact that, if true as recounted, Ms D’Addario would find being a MEP so much less attractive than getting a zoning permit. Perhaps I misunderstand the nature and extent of rent-seeking in Italy? Still, I would guess that most readers of OJ, me included, would vastly prefer being an MEP. And anyway, don’t MEP’s get to charge a lot of expenses and stuff to Brussels? Did Ms. D’Addario make an economic miscalculation here, if this story is true? Did Berlusconi actually offer to do her a big favor?)