Editorial, Opinion

STAFF EDIT: Deeper corruption

It may be the nearing the end of the 2000s, but for the United States, things look increasingly like the 1930s. With the economy suffering the largest downturn in recent history and a rash of political corruption scandals, a strong leadership from the next administration is absolutely key to restoring the public’s faith in our leaders.

In a year highlighted by a history-making election and campaigns built on the promise of political reform, a chain of high-profile corruption scandals spoiled what many hoped would be a more ethical era for politics. In Massachusetts, two dramatic incidences of caught-on-camera bribery cases have come to light since the Nov. 4 elections. Though these cases have been highly publicized, they only scrape the surface of a troubling trend that seems to permeate American democracy from city halls to the halls of Congress.

Between the indictments of Massachusetts Sen. Dianne Wilkerson and Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner on bribery charges, the commonwealth has been the center of plenty of media attention lately. This week, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich stole the spotlight after he was arrested for allegedly soliciting bribes for the soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat. But these are the sensational cases being brought to the public’s attention.

Much more concerning is the litany of less-publicized cases of corruption occurring nationwide. These more-accepted acts of corruption include corporate donations to political causes and licensed lobbyists plying their trade from Beacon Hill to Capitol Hill.

These cases are obviously much harder to prevent and even harder to detect. The FBI deserves credit for unmasking sensational cases of blatant graft. But to truly clean up American politics, voters themselves must push for stronger laws restricting campaign contributions and businesses’ influence on lawmaking.

One Comment

  1. George Patsourakos

    George Patsourakos<br/>It appears that corruption by American public officials has greatly increased during the past decade. In Massachusetts, state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson and Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner have been charged with bribery. They were secretly videotaped, in separate incidences, of allegedly accepting bribes. The bribes were allegedly given to these public officials, in order for them to use their political clout to achieve the undertakings that the donors sought. In Illinois, Gov. Rod Blagojevich was recently arrested for allegedly soliciting bribes from individuals seeking the Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Obama. In Rhode Island, former Gov. Buddy Cianci, less than 10 years ago, was convicted of receiving bribes, and was sentenced to several years in prison. Corporate donations to political causes and lobbyists, who reward state and U.S. senators and representatives with “gifts,” usually have a latent ulterior motive; namely, to receive the political officials’ votes or favors, as the needs may arise in the near future. In the final analysis, Americans need to combat political corruption, and insist on stronger laws that will restrict campaign contributions and lobbyists’ gifts to lawmakers — gifts that are not given from the kindness of their hearts, but with objective of receiving favors from lawmakers!