“The Government Man” has been quiet lately but an obscure news release over the weekend pushed my buttons again about one of my favorite topics, our ineffective and morally lacking Congress.
Buried in the news on a Saturday before New Year’s weekend, the slowest media day of the week, if not the year, was a release that the House Ethics Committee has dropped it’s investigation of ethics violations concerning Members of Congress and their staffs getting preferential treatment from Countrywide Financial. This is the company that almost singlehandedly brought down our economy. The case has been in and out of the news for several years but is now being quietly closed, not on factual evidence, but based on jurisdiction and time lapse issues. How convenient. The timing of the announcement was obviously calculated to appear on a day when it would escape notice because all of the media attention on congressional issues focused on the fiscal cliff.
Read between the lines of this almost hidden news release and you will see another instance of our regulators being controlled by those they are supposed to regulate and sweeping the consequences under the rug. The combination of politicians and public relations people can be lethal when it comes to misleading the American public. As a contracting officer with GSA and later a senior official, if I had done the things uncovered by the committee or had the same conflicts of interest, my file would be in the US attorney’s office.
During the scandals concerning GSA, my employer of 38 years, our elected officials stood on soapboxes about ethical violations involving conferences and travel (I’m not defending the actions within GSA – just putting them in perspective). They held hearings on the cost of shrimp cocktails and hotel rooms while at the same time putting us close to the fiscal cliff by their ineffectiveness and again ignoring the ethical breaches of their very own.
When are our leaders going to be accountable for their actions, or inactions?