Monday, October 26, 2015

Influence Peddling

It's not a Democrat or Republican issue…it is the central issue to our Democratic Republic; influence peddling. 

What traditionally has sustained the United States, indeed help to cast it at a country of opportunity, free enterprise, and a beacon for millions of oppressed is the belief in fundamental fairness.

One of the major factors of a successful country is the LACK of corruption, especially blatant corruption that signals leaders are above the rule of law. Why is this important? Because influence peddling undermines the very fabric of our Democratic Republic.

The policy standard actually is pretty generous to high ranking officials; it provides what some have called a revolving door that allows various officials the ability to move between private and public employment very easily. This is particularly troubling in regards to the highest elected and appointed officials in the United States; take for example the position of President, Secretary of State, Fed Chair, and head of the NSA.

This is the "cooling off" Standards of Conduct; I believe it is being blatantly ignored.

Let's look at 3 examples:

Bill and Hillary Clinton; former President of the United States and Secretary of State. No cooling off period prior to solicitations, ACTIVE political appointee, massive yearly income from multiple sources.

Next we have the former Head of the NSA, Four Star General David Alexander whose nemesis Edward Snowden is now enjoying exile in Moscow. Gen. Alexander reportedly began IronNet a start-up company the day after he retired which was recently funded $32.5M. When you're pulling down a pension and tapping all your old subordinates for contracts that's a problem.

Finally, I'd like to mention our former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke. I'm a big fan of Mr. Bernanke, but not a big fan how the most powerful unelected person in the world now is consulting for private firms. Is it legal? Probably, but it just doesn't seem right.

The Greatest Generation was know for their service in WWII; indeed, being a member of the military was commonly referred to as "being in the Service."

What we are increasingly seeing is Self before Service. Take note: if you are a government official of significant rank the generous pension, healthcare, and benefits you receive for the rest of your life is compensation for you work; your "service." Your service was the altruistic motivation you had to serve your country at a presumably reduced salary versus what you could have earned in the private sector.

You know this, I know this, all the financial farmers reading this piece know this; influence peddling whether real or perceived destroys this country. Your "service" does not include the collective goodwill of this country as bargaining chips.

I don't think holding former elected/highly appointed officials to the same standards as FIFA or the Olympic committee is too much too ask, there is just too much this country has endured to be blighted by blatant influence peddling.