Dear US House freshmen: Doing bad works for good reasons is still doing bad works.

By Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musings

 

I don't expect to be in complete agreement on every issue with the
elected officials who represent me, even those who I support, but I do
expect my elected representatives to perform their duties in a
completely ethical manner.

*Especially* those I support.

There
were a number of Democrats in this year's freshman class in the US
House of Representatives, including Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona's 9th
Congressional District.

Those freshman members who were
deemed to be most vulnerable in 2014, including Sinema, were given
seats on the House Financial Services Committee to give them access to
the deep-pocketed lobbyists for the financial services industry.

As such, most of them are doing very well with their campaign fundraising efforts.

Well,
DC is a "quid pro quo" kind of place, and it's time for the freshmen to
give a little "quo" for all of the "quid" that they've been getting.

From the New York Times, written by Eric Lipton and Ben Protess –

Bank
lobbyists are not leaving it to lawmakers to draft legislation that
softens financial regulations. Instead, the lobbyists are helping to
write it themselves.

 

One bill
that sailed through the House Financial Services Committee this month —
over the objections of the Treasury Department — was essentially
Citigroup’s, according to e-mails reviewed by The New York Times. The
bill would exempt broad swathes of trades from new regulation.

 

{snip}

 

…But most of the Democrats
on the committee, along with 31 Republicans, came to the industry’s
defense, including the seven freshmen Democrats — most of whom have
started to receive donations this year from political action committees
of Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and other financial institutions, records show.

 

Six days after the vote, several freshmen Democrats were in New York
to meet with bank executives, a tour organized by Representative Joe
Crowley, who helps lead the House Democrats’ fund-raising committee. The
trip was planned before the votes, and was not a fund-raiser, but it
gave the lawmakers a chance to meet with Wall Street’s elite.

 

In
addition to a tour of Goldman’s Lower Manhattan headquarters, and a
meeting with Lloyd C. Blankfein, the bank’s chief executive, the
lawmakers went to JPMorgan’s Park Avenue office. There, they chatted
with Jamie Dimon, the bank’s chief, about Dodd-Frank and immigration
reform.

I understand the desire of elected officials
to win re-election and am fully cognizant of the fact that any
Republican running against her is likely to be far worse. 

Having said that however, each of the seven Democratic freshmen on the committee (and, for that matter, all of the Democratic members of the committee) got where they are in large part because of a massive amount of grassroots support.

Those
grassroots supporters didn't stuff thousands of envelopes, make
thousands of phone calls and canvass thousands of miles of neighborhoods
only to see their candidates turn into ethical reincarnations of JD Hayworth.

Yes,
re-electing Congresswoman Sinema and the rest of the freshman Democrats
would be a "good" thing, but actively aiding and abetting the banksters
in return for generous campaign contributions is most definitely "bad"
and just may help the Republicans in the long run.

Most
everybody expects Republican electeds to be at least a little dirty,
even their supporters – they hold public service and public servants
themselves as utterly contemptible, and use that attitude to rationalize
contemptible behavior of their own* – but Democrats tend to be seen as
the "good guys" (no, not all perfect, and certainly not all "guys"). 
As such, they are held to a slightly higher standard.  That's why John
Ensign (R) got to resign with his pension intact and Rod Blagojevich (D)
got to go to prison.

In short, an elected Democrat who is perceived to be as ethical as an elected Republican is well on the way to becoming an unelected Democrat.

 

For
the record, while I absolutely deplore corruption on the part of public
officials regardless of partisan affiliation, I think that the most
annoying part of this behavior is that it gives credibility to the
"they're all dirty" crowd, those whose political thoughts and knowledge
can comfortably fit on a bumper sticker.

 

* –
I am not the first to make this observation.  The late, great, Molly
Ivins once made almost the same observation about the presidential
administration of George H.W. Bush, and things have only become worse
since.

 

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