The news is buzzing with the arrest of Illinios Governor Blagojevich and his Chief of Staff John Harris for trying to sell the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.
Let me echo LWC’s sentiment. Blago has been under a microscope for a long time. Still, this fool had the temerity to try and profit personally from the selection of Obama’s successor in the Senate. What an idiot.
US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald was on TV this morning talking about the indictment, and he’s right, this is a sad day for government. It doesn’t matter what party a person is a member of, if they are trying to personally profit from their position they have no business being anywhere but in the pokey.
There is a belief by some in positions of power, that they can act with little or no regard for the rule of law, for their personal enrichment. This belief is not limited to public officials, but also people in the private sector. I think we’ve seen a lot of this recently with corporate executive’s actions and reactions to calls for the return of unearned or questionable income in the face of massive losses. All forms of corruption, no matter how hard they are to investigate, should be pursued in order to maintain faith in the rule of law by holding those with little or no regard for the law, accountable.
I have a great deal of faith in Patrick Fitzgerald’s ability to remove his personal political views, whatever those may be, from executing his duty as a US Attorney. Even though he didn’t give me everything I wanted for Fitzmas several years ago, I hold him in the highest regard. However, this administration has a history of using the US Attorney’s office for political gain. The prosecution of Former Gov. Don Siegelman in Alabama, the US Attorney controversy featuringMonica Goodling, and several other situations involving former AG Alberto Gonzales, have left a stain on the department that needs to be corrected. This means holding those who have damaged our justice system accountable, something Obama may not want to spend political capitol on.
“If crimes have been committed, they should be investigated,” Obama said, but added, “I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt, because I think we’ve got too many problems we’ve got to solve.” (Source)
Obama may be right that there are a lot of “problems to solve”, but restoring faith in the Federal Government is one that must happen, and must happen soon, if Obama is to accomplish even half of the things on his agenda. This means returning the DOJ from the grip of the political arm-twisting that it has engaged in for the past 8 years. Other institutions, the VA, CIA, and FEMA come to mind, need to be freed of the taint that this administration, and that’s going to take some tough admissions of wrongdoing and active efforts to change in a very public way.
It may be uncomfortable for Obama, and may, in the minds of some, run contrary to his “post-partisan” rhetoric, but prosecuting people who have behaved badly in the course of the past 8 years will probably also be the only way to really restore public faith in the rule of law.
None of this, of course, has anything directly to do with the Blago-gate scam, but for Obama to not get caught up, even tangentially, in the scandals of those in or outside his sphere of influence, rebuilding our mantle of “A Nation of Laws” internally is the first step, no matter how uncomfortable it might be.