When the ends justify the means government ethics is an anachronism. Classic abuses like corruption in office are difficult to ignore and are usually punished sooner or later. Sneaky bad behaviors like spreading propaganda and disinformation are subtle and do more damage because they are harder to spot and can influence millions.
Capitol Hill still hasn’t rid Washington of insider trading. Like term limits, that’s going to be a very difficult ethics rule to get everyone to agree to but at least it’s a conflict we know about.
Government ethics: the worst problems hide
The worst types of unethical behavior are the ones we don’t see coming. They undermine what America stands for and what we believe in. Examples are political rhetoric that distorts the truth, pandering to big money donors, and selecting special interests for legislative favoritism. All of these things point to how government ethics falls by the wayside when opportunity knocks.
The ethics of winning and losing
The rise and fall of Hillary Rodham Clinton and lingering anger among her supporters speaks volumes about America's ability to look the other way when confronted with ethical lapses.
With Donald Trump in charge ethics is about foreign interference in our government. Robert Mueller took the first head with the Manafort indictment. Now we’re warned that Michael Flynn could be another thorn in the administration’s foot in a scandal that likely won’t go away and may never be resolved.
On Capitol Hill government ethics has turned to harassment and sexual misconduct. America wanted bipartisanship, now a scandal that’s causing problems for both parties is giving us what we asked for.
What is the Government Ethics category about?
The government ethics category is about what happens when political opportunity takes precedence over doing the right thing. From fake politics to outright thievery, as long as there is money and power to be had ethics will be an inconvenience best ignored.
House Republicans introduced H.R. 4760 the day before the s*** storm erupted over Trump’s White House immigration meeting. The Securing America’s Future Act of 2018 offers three more years1 of deferred action without extending any protection to criminals and gang members.
Can bribery be ethical if you do it for the right reasons? The Chicago Sun Times ran a story recently about gift cards that were purchased for Chicago Public School students and misappropriated by school system employees. The story is hardly a surprise.
Are we witnessing the start of a new era in politics where holding politicians accountable for the harm they do is what we expect instead of just an aberration? We’ve seen positive signs this week, ironically the same week that ex-Florida Congresswoman Corrine Brown found out that she’s going to be spending some time in the slammer for fraud.
I choked on my lunch when I heard Nancy Pelosi’s remark about a climate of dignity and respect in Congress.1 Maybe she is moonlighting at some other congress we don’t know about. She can’t mean the one on Capitol Hill.