Friday, December 05, 2008

Lunchtime Crime

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

Yesterday, I posted on Charlie Rangel's legal and ethical problems. Now, it turns out that there may be some dispersal of campaign funds to his son. Legal, but ethically dicey, to give $80,000 to your kid for his internet company. Especially:

[P]aying lavishly for a pair of political Web sites so poorly designed an expert estimated one should have cost no more than $100 to create.
In general, the crimes of elected officials fall into two categories: first, financial issues as related to Rangel, Jefferson, Dan Rostenkowski, Randy "Duke" Cunningham, Edwin Edwards (still in jail but seeking clemency from a Bush pardon since he's 81), Ted Stevens, (who Mark Begich believes should be spared jail time), Curt Weldon (not yet indicted), Don Young (not yet indicted), and the hit parade continues.

Then, there are the "morals" issues charged against people like David Vitter, Eliot Spitzer, Mark Foley. Sometimes these are legal crimes (as in "can get you a jail term") and sometimes, it's not really a crime, but the electorate gets up in arms anyway, like as regards Wilbur Mills and Bill Clinton.

You don't generally find elected officials undertaking crimes-against-people like home invasion, knocking over banks or convenience stores, street mugging, etc.

Sometimes just as accusation will cause an elected official to grovel on the chamber floor and cry and leave, generally blaming drugs and alcohol (Foley). Sometimes the people protest their innocence (Jefferson). And then, sometimes they cry on the chamber floor but initially refuse to leave (VITO!).

A lot of the time, however, these folks get re-elected. In fact, I wrote a while back that my favourite political bumper sticker of all time was "Vote for the Crook, It's Important". That was when Edwin Edwards ran against David Duke, of KKK fame.

So the question is: how do you personally feel about the crimes, the ethics charges, and does the issue affect whether or not you will vote for a candidate?

My own opinion is that I view elected officials as OUR employees. Their salaries are paid with our tax dollars, their campaign coffers are filled with our checks. I don't want my tax dollars spent procuring hookers, funding an offspring's company, buying the official a Caribbean retreat, or doing anything that benefits the official directly. As an aside, it's not the "hooker" thing that bothers me, it's the spending of tax dollars on it.

But what's your opinion?