Tag Archives: conflicts of interest

Ethics Quiz: The Obamas’ “Private Party”

prince

President Obama and his wife, Michelle invited about 500 guests to a White House party where pop icons Prince and Stevie Wonder entertained guests. Among the guests were Al Sharpton, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his date, singer Ciara, Jon Bon Jovi, James Taylor, Tyler Perry, Connie Britton, Angela Bassett, Gayle King, Tracee Ellis Ross, fashion designer Naeem Kha, American Express exec Ken Chenault,  former Attorney General Eric Holder, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and National Security Adviser Susan Rice, as well as about 480 others of doubtlessly equal glitter who didn’t squeal about the blow-out on Twitter or Instagram or who weren’t mentioned by other guests who did.

The party was not mentioned on the President’s official schedule, and it almost managed to occur without publicity until the White House news briefing on Monday afternoon, when Josh Earnest was grilled about it. The White House spokesman said two interesting things, one audacious in its blatant dishonesty and Orwellian logic, and the other ….interesting. The first:

“I think the fact that we’re talking about a private event and the fact that details of this are known is an indication that the president is committed to being transparent. At the same time, the president and first lady are going to reserve the right to host private parties at the White House, and they did it on their own dime.”

Further proving how transparent the President was, Earnest announced that no guest list would be provided to the press or the public. Now that’s transparency. The other statement:

[T]”he President and First Lady are going to reserve the right to host private parties at the White House, and they did it on their own dime. I think that’s consistent with the kinds of values that they have talked about.”

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:

“Are there any ethical problems with the Obama’s “private party”?

Continue reading

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The Progressive Corruption Of And Betrayal By The Democratic Party, PART II: Hillary Denial

dead donkey

It is not even June of 2015; the 2016 election is almost a year and a half away. Yet already there is so much smoke—but no smoking guns! Well, no new ones, anyway—around Hillary Clinton’s conduct, finances and character that it would have any major city’s fire department speeding to the source in panic. Her conduct as First Lady placed political expediency above common decency; her financial machinations were never fully unraveled but had the smell of a scam. She became Senator via nepotism rather than merit; she was made Secretary of State in a political deal. In that role, she engineered the fiasco in Libya, a “re-set” with Russia that backfired, and generally left fingerprints all over Obama’s epically failed foreign policy, including the disastrous withdrawal from Iraq.

The nation learned that she violated both her own agency’s policies and national security protocols to control her e-mails, then dumped 30,000 of them before they could be independently examined and subpoenaed by Congress. Her explanations for this ranged from ridiculous to untrue. She violated her deal with both Congress and the Obama Administration regarding accepting contributions to the Clinton Foundation from foreign governments, and attempted to use a Canadian affiliate to cover up some of them. Objective observers regard the Foundation as a huge Clinton Family advancement slush fund and a likely influence-peddling, quid pro quo device, though an uncommonly clever one. The Foundation itself has failed to meet non-profit best practices, and is regarded with suspicion in the non-profit sector by those who monitor charities. Meanwhile, the outrageous speaking fees raked in by both Clintons appear to be naked greed at best—taking scarce money, for example, for speaking to colleges in financial distress—and thinly veiled, plausibly deniable bribery at worst.

Every week–day?— brings more. Yesterday, we learned that shady Clinton advisor Sidney Blumenthal, whom the Obama Administration refused to allow Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to hire because, well, he is shady, was paid $10,000 a month by the Clinton Foundation to advise her informally on Libya. Foul. The Clinton Foundation is a non-profit charity and operating foundation that supposedly…

“convenes businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals to improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for women and girls, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change”

…not one that “collects tax-deductible contributions under false pretenses so cronies of the Clintons can be paid stipends for work that has nothing to do with the Foundation’s mission.” Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Philanthropy, Non-Profits and Charity, U.S. Society

And Now, A Rueful Parody: “Hillary, Brady and George”

hillary-brady-george

I’ll let Dion set the mood first…

Now my updated version, in its own way even sadder than the original. (You can sing along, if you like…)

Does anybody here care ’bout influence peddling?
Can you tell me why it’s wrong?
She got a lot of money
And it sure looks like quid pro quo
But Hillary’s prospects stay strong.

***

 Anybody here care ’bout conflicts of interest?
Can you tell me why they’re wrong?
George gave a lot of money,
To Hillary’s foundation
(He’s been a supporter all along.)

***

Anybody here care ’bout lying and cheating?
Do you think that they’re wrong?
The quarterback messed with
The balls that he scored with
And still is cheered by the throng.

 ***

Should we admire the values they stand for?
Won’t their lies corrupt it all for you and me?
And society
Some day soon, if we don’t make them sorry…

***

Everybody here see our old friend Bubba?
(I can’t stop my rising gorge)
As I watch  him walkin,’ and laughin’ at all of us…

With Hillary, Brady and George.

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Another TV Doctor, Another Breach: Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s Heroic And Self-serving Ethics Blindness

Are TV doctors entertainers, journalists or doctors? In a way the question doesn’t matter: if they are doctors, then they are obligated to follow medical ethics and the standards of their profession at all times, no matter what else they may be taking compensation for. This is why “Dr. Oz” is ducking the issue when he tries to avoid accountability for pushing quack remedies on his TV show (if it ducks like a quack…) by arguing that he isn’t practicing medicine, but engaging in entertainment. He’s still a doctor, every second of his life, once he takes that oath.

CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta has largely steered clear of ethical issues in his tenure as the network’s medical expert. Not entirely, however; for example, in 2009, he was prominently mentioned as a possible Surgeon General, and was in discussions with the White House while continuing his reporting on the air, raising real and potential conflict of interest concerns. The most recent controversy is more serious. Continue reading

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Iowa’s Kirkwood Community College Imprisons Its Students In Deference To Hillary Clinton

"This is a great community college, you know?"

“This is a great community college, you know?”

I’m willing to entertain the notion that the exigencies of the situation may have justified Boston’s police ordering citizens to stay in their homes during the dragnet for the Boston Marathon bombers in 2013, Barely. Still, the explosion of extra-legal, unconstitutional abuses of power by national and state governments during the Presidency of Barack Obama is profoundly troubling, and even more so is the complacency of the public and media when it occurs.

Yes indeed, I see this particularly frightening fish-rot as being initiated from the head in the White House, who has embraced the governing theory that if consensus and compromise on desired measures, laws and policies can’t be achieved under the Constitution’s formula, do it anyway. This isn’t strength, you know. It is weakness, the desperate resort of an unskilled executive with contempt for democracy. Under this administration, we have seen a President and a Justice department refuse to fulfill their duties and defend a duly passed and signed law that they just didn’t like (DOMA). Wrong. We have seen a President unilaterally amend his own sloppy health care law because he knows that if he tried to fix it legally, the Congress would gut it. Wrong. We have seen Obama repeal immigration restrictions by executive order, and declare that the Senate was in recess in order to avoid the bother of getting legally mandated  confirmation of his appointments—that one, at least, was struck down by the Supreme Court.

The cumulative effect of all of this is gradually increasing public tolerance for official breaches of the rule of law, at all levels of government, and by private entities too. I believe that that this threatens the democratic culture, and I do not understand why progressives are not as outraged by this development as moderates and conservatives. Do they really think that having allowed Constitutional protections to erode so their precious agenda can be advanced, those protections will be suddenly vigorous again when their adversaries have the upper hand? What utter, utter fools:

The sickening effect of this complacency was on display at Kirkwood Community College in Monticello, Iowa, Continue reading

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The Legal Profession’s Failure Of Professionalism Regarding Gay Marriage

blind_justice

Charles Green helpfully sent me the link to today’s New York Times piece documenting how…

“the imbalance in legal firepower in the same-sex marriage cases resulted from a conviction among many lawyers that opposition to such unions is bigotry akin to racism. But there were economic calculations, too. Law firms that defend traditional marriage may lose clients and find themselves at a disadvantage in hiring new lawyers.”

“Am I right that something’s quite amiss here?” he asks. Indeed he is, and I’ve touched on it before.

There are several factors at work here, but the result is deplorable, and indictment of the corrupt values of the legal profession. One of the factors is bias, and it is a bias that the lawyers themselves are either unaware of,  or are unwilling to avoid its effects as their professional codes of ethics require.

The majority of high-powered lawyers hail from urban centers where liberal culture flourishes among the wealthy, the powerful and the influential. These are cosmopolitan lawyers, sophisticated and urbane, who have gay colleagues, gay friends and gay children. They are less likely to be religious, and more likely to have contempt for those who are. Combine with them the legal academics who drive consensus on legal ethics matters—like most academics, they have marinated in the extreme leftist attitudes of U.S. academia—and it becomes clear why, as Michael W. McConnell, a former federal appeals court judge who teaches law at Stanford, tells the Times, “The level of sheer desire to crush dissent is pretty unprecedented.”

I noticed this in 2011, when the legal ethicists I follow, know and debate with decreed virtually en masse that a judge who was not only gay himself but in a long term domestic relationship with his partner had no ethical obligation to recuse himself before he issued the decision on the constitutionality of California’s anti-same sex marriage Proposition 8. Nor did they feel he was ethically obligated to disclose his situation before ruling. I wrote: Continue reading

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Slager’s Lawyer Unethically Throws Him Under The Bus (Not That He Doesn’t Belong There)

Professional Tip: Lawyers, it's unethical to do this to your clients!

Professional Tip: Lawyers, it’s unethical to do this to your clients!

When a lawyer believes that representing a client is something that he or she cannot do effectively, either because of a deep personal bias against the client, another conflict of interest, a reasonable belief that the client is untrustworthy or unmanageable, or some other good reason, his duty is to withdraw from the representation. Believing or even knowing that the client is guilty is not a good reason. Guilty clients have rights, the system demands a competent defense, and sometimes—rarely, but it happens—a lawyer can be surprised to find out that his “guilty” client isn’t guilty after all.

Withdrawal from a representation is appropriate and allowed in the circumstances defined by ABA Rule 1.16: Continue reading

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