final paper lol - Final Paper 17 December 2015 1 The...

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Final Paper 17 December 2015 1. The article “Secrecy, corruption, and conflicts of interests pervade state governments” presents the issue of corruption within our state and federal governments. The evidence within the article shows a lack of responsiveness at political institutions. The 2015 State Integrity Investigation measures each state’s accountability and transparency within their governments; the investigation found most states fail to have adequate ethics and open access laws. Coincidentally the report found the states with the best ethics laws adopted these laws after scandals within their governments, which garnered public support for change. This example points to the lack of responsiveness in political institutions, except to issues the within the voters current interests. A similar situation happened in the state of New Jersey; after a serious of widely publicized scandals, the state introduced new tough legislation on ethics and anti- corruption laws. The government is operating in which politicians only respond to an issue it is within the voter’s interests, regardless of the politician’s own moral principles. A few centuries ago, the state governments and federal government showed a lack of response to the issue of slavery because the majority of public opinion fiercely supported slavery. If the politicians were aligning their moral principles with legislation and oppose the use of slavery, the public would turn against the official, and he would lose his job. The article shows another current day example of this; Paula A. Franzese, formerly of the New Jersey State Ethics Commission, explains that ethics oversight is among the last issues to receive government funding. Franzese states, “it’s not the sort of issue that commands voters”. That is why politicians are willing to ignore their own moral principles for the sake of keeping their 1
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positions of power. If an issue does not command voter attention, the politician will not act on the issue. In regards to the issue of the public’s access to open records, many state governments have also received failing grades. The Tennessee Ethics Commission, for example, only made two of the seventeen recent complaints against a public official open to public record. According to Drew Rawlins of the Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance, the complaints have not been made public because “there just haven’t been that many valid complaints alleging wrongdoing”. The Tennessee Ethics Commission did not investigate these complaints, even though investigating complaints about politicians ethical violation is one of the Commission’s main duties. This example shows the government will only take aggressive action against a moral issue if the media has garnered the public’s attention to that issue.
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