Tuesday, July 28, 2015

There oughta be a law

Wherever you come from politically on the whole Kathleen-Kane-versus-former-Tom-Corbett-underlings fracas over the six or eight politicos who were on tape captured accepting gifts from a lobbyist but who were not indicted, I think there's one thing we can all agree on.

There oughta be a law

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Wherever you come from politically on the whole Kathleen-Kane-versus-former-Tom-Corbett-underlings fracas over the six or eight politicos who were on tape captured accepting gifts from a lobbyist but who were not indicted, I think there's one thing we can all agree on.

How could it not be a prima facia crime for an elected official to accept a cash gift from a lobbyist? Also, is there no recourse for the citizenry, at all?

The Daily News editoial board has an idea for the second part of that:

The House should pass a resolution directing the Ethics Committee to investigate the cases. The committee should appoint a non-partisan special counsel, with experience as a prosecutor, to oversee the case. The committee has subpoena power, so it can demand access to evidence gathered. It can call the legislators implicated to testify under oath in private session.

If the committee finds that they acted improperly, it should make its finding public and move for an expulsion vote in the House. And those found to have betrayed the public trust should be expelled.

Yes, that, definitely -- but there ought to be more. There ought to be a law. It makes no sense for an elected official, or any public official, in Pennsylvania to be able to accept anything of real value from a lobbyist, or anyone who's not a family member. Right now, Pennsylvania has one of the most lax laws on gifts of any state in the country; it needs to have the strictest. And if this scandal isn't a motivating force, I don't know what is. This is the only way that anything good can come from this fiasco -- and it needs to be done.
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About this blog
Will Bunch, a senior writer at the Philadelphia Daily News, blogs about his obsessions, including national and local politics and world affairs, the media, pop music, the Philadelphia Phillies, soccer and other sports, not necessarily in that order.

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