This is a fascinating excerpt (via) from a book about Davy Crocket's time in Congress. An especially interesting anecdote involved Crocket's vote to appropriate $20,000 for victims of a Georgetown fire. (There had been a massive fire in Georgetown, and Crockett supported a measure to give $20,000 in federal money to the fire's victims.) Crockett attempted to defend his vote to a constituent. The constituent countered:
Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose.... There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week's pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life. The congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give.
Crockett finally sees the errors of his vote, and in a later speech to Congress regarding a proposal to appropriate money for a naval officer's destitute window notes:
You remember that I proposed to give a week's pay. There are in that House many' very wealthy men -- men who think nothing of spending a week's pay, or a dozen of them, for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased -- a debt which could not be paid by money -- and the insignificance and worthlessness of money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $10,000, when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it.
Indeed. When Ted Kennedy, John Edwards, Bill Clinton, and numerous other liberals demonstrate that they are spending their own money to solve society's ills, they will at least have my ear - even if I consider some acts of Congressional charity to be illegitimate. But when they treat my money like trash, and their own money like treasure, they will continue to receive nothing but my contempt. That they are able to sucker others, and that so many miss Crockett's message and nonetheless defend these defectives and claim they are good men and women, is a mystery of the ages.