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18 December 2009

The Need For Ethics Reform Proves Both Dems, GOP Are Crooked

Friday's edition of the Athens Banner-Herald contains a sobering reality for politics in the state of Georgia. The paper's editorial board penned a column that essentially says that if lawmakers need to legislate ethics, then members of both political parties suffer from a deficit of honesty, values and decency.

Here are a few excerpts from that editorial:

. . .neither Republicans nor Democrats have anything for which they should be proud with regard to enforcing ethical standards. And while the recent interest in ethics reform from both sides of the aisle is encouraging, it's important to recognize those proposals, ranging from the virtual elimination of lobbying, to turning investigation of ethics complaints over to the State Ethics Commission, to establishing statewide grand juries to investigate legislative corruption, are a long way from becoming reality.

That's why it was dispiriting to see that [state Representative David]Ralston, in a letter to Republican House members in advance of Thursday's election, wrote, "If you honor me with your nomination on Thursday, we will get to work on putting together a legislative package with input from all of you that we as the Republican caucus can unify around come (the legislative) session."

The fact that the new leader of the House believes it might require "a legislative package" for lawmakers to know what constitutes ethical behavior is, in the end, a sad commentary on the caliber of those lawmakers.

Athens Banner-Herald Editorial Board (2009-12-18). Editorial: Legislating ethics shouldn't be an issue. Athens Banner-Herald. Retrieved on 2009-12-18.

Let's be clear here; ethics reform is a political football that both Democrats and Republicans like to play with when trying to convince voters that theirs is the more ethical, more honest and more open political party. But as the Athens Banner Herald correctly observes, if ethics has to be legislated in order to guarantee good behavior from our lawmakers, then what does that say about our elected officials.

In two short words:

Not. Much.