It's hard to imagine how one speech by a politician can be worth $2,000. Politicians seldom say anything new or revealing anyway. But according to financial disclosures filed recently by members of Congress, many speeches fetch that much, especially when given before interest groups.

The practice is yet one more way for the members of the House and Senate to receive campaign contributions from pressure groups - and possibly become beholden to them later, when special-interest bills inevitably come their way.This is a big-bucks sideline to the $89,500 salary members already receive annually. The public should . . . demand that members of Congress cap their own earnings and therefore limit the temptations for favoring special-interest legislation.