Americana: Populous Portals

What kind of prodigal squanders $1.63 million a year on 63 doorkeepers—to man three doors? A particularly extravagant Roman emperor? Louis XIV? No, this is democratic America, where an individual is not permitted such profligacy. But 200 people are: the state legislators of Massachusetts. The lawmakers' blue-uniformed doorkeepers are called "court officers," but their duties are nebulous. They do, however, have salaries, more than $18,000 annually—nearly as much as the legislators themselves. A few are former representatives, and many more are friends and relatives of lawmakers. Claims Representative Richard Voke of...

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