Fighting Political Corruption
Corruption in politics at the local, state, and federal levels is much like a fast-spreading cancer that is ready to consume and destroy the body. The cancer of corruption must be rooted out, and there is no time to wait. Like cancer destroying the lifeblood of the physical body, so corruption destroys the lifeblood of the body politic. We should never tolerate any hint of wrongdoing in the public sphere.
Leaders and citizens of this country must be willing to combat the forces of evil in our government without hesitation. If we fail to enforce the rule of law in the political domain, we are consenting to behavior that is out of touch with the vision of our Founding Fathers. When that happens, the integrity of our founding documents and the very existence of our country are put at risk. The Latin phrase, Qui Tacet Consentrie, is translated to, “he who is silent is understood to consent.” Leaders need to do more to attack the “cancer of corruption” in our government and must not consent by remaining silent!
Let’s explore several ways that public servants can guard themselves and contribute to reform in this area:
1. Term Limits – I believe that we need an amendment to our Constitution that limits the number of terms for members of both the U.S. House and Senate. Politicians, lobbyists, and other institutional government bureaucracies are currently engaged in a continuous feedback loop of trading money for favorable legislation. Long-term politicians count on large sums of money being funneled into their campaigns for reelection purposes. The power and leverage of the lobbyists will be greatly thwarted with term limits. Furthermore, term limits help “level the playing field” and have the effect of democratizing the sources of power, thus, inhibiting the potential for concentrated power in the hands of a few. Excessive power can lead to corruption. When we stop the flow of money and limit excessive power, we help stem the tide of corrupt operating practices.
2. Congressional Insider Trading - The Stock Act does not go far enough in curbing congressional gains from insider knowledge. The Senate Ethics Committee needs to “batten down the hatches” and broaden their interpretation of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act. While the new law codifies the rules of the road for congressional financial transactions, it also gives would be perpetrators the blueprints for circumvention.
3. Hiring Practices – Congressional members must hold themselves above reproach and provide full disclosure of any unlawful practices committed by political consultants, staff employees, and other “for-hire” services paid by the taxpayer. We need to put our elected officials in Washington, DC, in a glass house when it comes to their hiring practices. Transparency of the law breakers and illegal practices for those that are hired with tax payer money must be the norm.
4. Prosecution – The Congressional Ethics Committees need to do more to stop political corruption by recommending more cases for legal action and prosecution. Our leaders need to be held accountable for their actions. A slap on the wrist will no longer suffice.
5. Ethics Training – The number of hours and the types of training included in any standardized training models for Congressional members must be evaluated for causal relationships and effectiveness.
6. FBI (White Collar – Congressional Division) – We need to pass legislation allocating increased funding for FBI agents dedicated to congressional oversight and investigation. We need to put some teeth into congressional accountability.
Our Founding Fathers designed a constitution that would protect us from the baser instincts of mankind. The rule of law is the primary basis for that document. In a sense, they are telling us that the ball is now in our court. We need to defend and enforce the laws of the land rigorously. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay also knew of the evil machinations of mankind when writing The Federalist Papers in support of the Constitution.
I believe that we need to take a reformist approach to rooting out corruption in our politics. Leaders must be held to a higher standard. When enforcing our current ethics rules, we must never let the delicacies of political thinking and reasoning overshadow our commitment to the principles of God’s moral law. His moral law is the foundation of the laws of our land. God bless America!