Congressional integrity

Discussion in 'Congress' started by Brooklyn, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. Brooklyn
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    Brooklyn Brooklyn Mike

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    I am a New Yorker and have a few friends who are police officers. In conversation they have mentioned to me, that the NYPD has a policy of performing integrity checks, I come to understand the set up scenarios that place officers in compromising positions to evaluate their integrity. A scenerio may be something like a man approaches an officer on the street, hands them an envelope with cash or something valuable inside and says I found this, then runs off before the officer has a chance to get more info. Does he turn in the envelope? keep it, whatever it may be.

    I fabricating this scenario as I am not a police office, I am just communicating my understanding of it.

    My question though is, would you find this to be a valuable way of evaluating and/or prevent corruption in Congress?
     
  2. konradv
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    konradv Gold Member

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    The corruption in Congress usually comes about because of the way we finance our elections, rather than money in envelopes. Go to public financing and we can take care of old style bribery in the courts. Our present system allows for legal bribery, IMO.
     
  3. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    No, Konny...it is based on human nature.

    This may be illustrative:


    1. George Washington Plunkitt (1842–1924) was a long-time State Senator from New York, representing the Fifteenth Senate District, part of what is known as New York's Tammany Hall machine. Plunkitt became wealthy by practicing what he called "honest graft" in politics….In one of his speeches, quoted in Plunkitt of Tammany Hall, he describes the difference between dishonest and honest graft: for dishonest graft one worked solely for one's own interests, while for honest graft one pursued the interests of one's party, one's state, and one's personal interests all together. He made most of his money through land purchases, which he knew would be needed for public projects. He would buy such parcels, then resell them at an inflated price. (This was "Honest Graft". "Dishonest Graft" according to Plunkitt, would be buying land and then using influence to have a project built on it.) George Washington Plunkitt - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    a. “There is so much honest graft in this big town that they would be fools to go in for dishonest graft.” Plunkitt.

    2. Not to excuse ‘graft’ of any kind, it is instructive all the same to realize that politicians cannot pay themselves extravagant salaries: In 1816, Congress passed a bill that almost doubled their salaries. The people were incensed, and more than half the members of the House declined to run again, and of those who did, only 15 of the 81 who voted for the raise won.

    a. In 2011 Congress members earned salaries of $175,000. With benefits, they earn about $285,000. see "Throw Them All Out," Peter Scheizer

    b. One study found “representatives accumulating wealth about 50 percent faster than expected.” Getting Rich(er) in Office? Corruption and Wealth Accumulation in Congress by Gabriel Lenz, Kevin Lim :: SSRN

    c. "Members of Congress, who are now paid about $169,000 annually, saw their net worths soar 84 percent from 2004 to 2006, on average." Get elected to Congress and get rich: study | Reuters


    People cheat because they can. Conservatives, in principle, deal with this via checks and balances. Liberals anticipate good laws and governments as being able to change human nature.

    In 1969, Hillary Rodham gave the student commencement address at Wellesley in which she said that “ for too long our leaders have used politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible….We’re not interested in social reconstruction; it’s human reconstruction.”-
    http://www.wellesley.edu/PublicAffa..._____________________________________________
     
  4. konradv
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    konradv Gold Member

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    If our present system is the result of "honest graft", shouldn't we eliminate the opportunity? While libs and cons may come at the problem from different directions, the remedies appear to be the same. Can tell me what the difference is between "checks and balances" and "good laws and governments"? The former seems to be the result of the latter! :confused:
     
  5. Big Black Dog
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    Big Black Dog Gold Member Supporting Member

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    There is no integrity in Congress. Everybody there would sell their souls to remain in power and will say or do anything to reach that goal. If I had the ability to do so, I would fire every member of Congress and replace them all with a group of people who were sincerely interested in being of assistance to the general public and not so much interested in the wants and desires of the special interest groups that keep them there. Republicans and Democrats alike are noting but a corrupt group of folks looking to advance their own political power.
     
  6. konradv
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    konradv Gold Member

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    Never happen until we change the way elections are financed.
     
  7. gallantwarrior
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    gallantwarrior Gold Member

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    Your title is an oxymoron.
     
  8. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    "Republicans and Democrats alike..."

    "Last night, 60 Minutes ran a report on the shocking normalcy of stock trades by members of Congress. The world's greatest deliberative bodies are exempt from insider trading laws, even though its members get quicker access to market-moving information than almost anyone else. If you're one of those 9 percent of Americans who still trust Congress, well, avert your eyes.

    Steve Kroft's report was based largely on a new book, Throw Them All Out, written by the conservative scholar/sometime Palin speechwriter Peter Schweizer. I'm working my way through it now, and one of the ugliest revelations so far -- prodded in the Kroft story -- is the degree to which Rep. Spencer Bachus, then ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, bet against the market as it collapsed in 2008. Schweizer finds "no less than forty options trades" in Bachus's records from July 2008 to November 2008. The trades made him wealthier; almost nobody else had the information he had, and could have made them. Take this example, from the bottom of the collapse."
    Spencer Bachus, Rogue Trader


    It's one of the books I'm currently reading. Doggy...if you want your blood to boil...pick up a copy.
     
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  9. Ropey
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    Ropey To Life! Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    The true proof of a robust Democracy is not the power to vote although that is quite important and the cornerstone of support.

    The power is in throwing the bums out and maintaining a smooth transition.
     
  10. Brooklyn
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    Brooklyn Brooklyn Mike

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    My thinking is if law enforcement is to be subjected to this kind of scrutiny, shouldn't law makers be held to the same if not higher standard??
     

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