Integrity in Washington

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

First, some old news...

26 Jan 2009 - Timothy Geithner is confirmed as Treasury Secretary although drawing 34 senate votes against his confirmation after news of his failure to pay $34,000 in self-employment taxes in time.

02 Feb 2009 - Nancy Killefer, first-ever named Executive Chief Performance Officer withdraws candidacy after findings of late payment of household payroll taxes which were paid after a lien was put on her home.

03 Feb 2009 - Sen. Tom Daschle withdraws from consideration as President Barack Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services in the face of findings that he only recently paid back in the amount of $128,000; says that he is not a leader who "can operate with the full faith of Congress and the American people."

These three are all highly qualified individuals (Geithner, Killefer, Daschle) with many years of expertise in their fields that they bring (would have brought) to the Executive cabinet. They were perhaps the best possible people to work in those jobs.

The best people in Washington are being precluded from service because of a lack of integrity. (Don't tell me that an IRS efficiency official actually screwed up on her taxes and it took a lien on her home for her to notice.)

My larger question is: Can qualified people even be found in politics who haven't got some story like these?

This is the question I've heard most often one day after the fact and a big question I have myself. Where can integrity be found anymore? This government has got some serious housekeeping to do.



Matt Purvis said...

I once heard an expert in congressional ethics state if you dig deep enough on every single member of congress(house and senate) there is dirt to be found. Does the political realm attract a person especially predisposed to lack of integrity or does the system give incentive to the behavior? I believe it is a combination of both factors. The position lures those desiring power(cue nefarious sounding music) and the power tends to corrupt after long influence. Are term limits and lack of perks something that could help clean the halls of government on ALL levels ranging from city to federal?

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