Now THIS Is The “Appearance of Impropriety”!

Was Joe Biden’s nomination of Senator Joe Manchin’s wife to a $165,000 post in his administration a bribe or a pay-off? So far, there’s no way to tell, but there is also no question about whether it creates an appearance of impropriety, which undermines public trust in the government, assuming there is any left at this point. It does. In fact, I can’t think of a more vivid example. The ethics rules governing government employees and judges, as well as members of Congress, prohibit conduct that creates the appearance of impropriety. The President and Vice-President are not covered by the rules. The circumstances around this appointment create only, well, circumstantial evidence of corruption, but then that’s what “appearance” means. It is conduct that creates suspicion.

Boy, does this ever.

Two days after Sen. Manchin cast a last-minute deciding vote on the Senate Armed Services Committee’s that advanced Biden’s controversial Pentagon policy nominee, Colin Kahl, to the full Senate, Manchin’s wife Gayle was announced as the surprise nominee to be federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission. The agency focuses on investing in Appalachia’s economic future by “providing grants, publishing research, and sponsoring learning experience.”

This, several news sources wrote, “raises questions about whether there was any connection between his vote and his wife’s nomination.” Ya think? The Biden administration has made it clear that if a nominee isn’t gay, trans, non-white, disabled, or a fire-breathing radical, there is no place for he/she/whatever. Why would a middle-of-the road, white woman from West Virginia qualify, other than the fact that she is, in fact, qualified for the job by those old fashioned, racist standards of yore?

Pro-Israel groups and West Virginia legislators opposed Kahl, who was heavily involved in the corrupt Iran nuclear deal, opposed Iran sanctions, and has been vocally anti-Israel. If Manchin, who said he was undecided, voted against Kahl on the 13-13 split committee, the nomination was dead. What made Manchin’s support of Kahl especially odd was that the nominee hash a history of inflammatory comments on Twitter, like calling the GOP “the party of ethnic cleansing” and of denigrating specific lawmakers. Manchin killed the nomination of Neera Tanden as Biden’s nominee for Office of Management and Budget director for exactly the same kind of uncivil social media activity. Why the change ?

Why indeed.

This is my first opportunity to use the new Ethics Alarms acronym, IIPTDXTTNMIAFB, or “Imagine if President Trump did X that the news media is accepting from Biden.” Yet Biden, or whoever is pulling his strings, has already made it clear that in this administration, the ends justify the means and it doesn’t matter who knows it. Democrats and progressives clearly don’t care about such niceties as ethics, for if they did Nancy Pelosi would be running a gift shop. Why would Senator Manchin or his wife be willing to look so tawdry and desperate?

This looks like, smells like, quacks like and waddles like a slimy quid pro quo.

Which is to say that it appears to be one.

14 thoughts on “Now THIS Is The “Appearance of Impropriety”!

        • Don’t know whether I will be happy to see him go. Until this bribe or payoff, he has been a sole Dem sometimes standing in the way of tyranny of the left.

          • If he goes, then a GOP Senator will take that seat. No other Democrat is going to win that seat, and an attempt to primary him with another AOC would just result in a landslide loss. The thing is, will he now swing on the filibuster? Probably not, or at least not yet, because then his importance disappears. Like Citizen Chauvelin in “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” (who learns the the hero’s identity early on, but tells no one) he knows you don’t play your most valuable card if playing it would deprive you of your place at the table (it doesn’t save Chauvelin in the end anyway, as he gets the chop together with a lot of Robespierre’s other supporters when the Reign of Terror ends).

  1. If you’re going to be blatantly and publicly corrupt, you should do it for a better payday than that. Good lord, Joe, have some self respect. You can choose to be a whore, but at least don’t be a cheap whore.

    • Now you’ve done it. Our host is now certain to expound upon “…for Wales?” from “A Man For All Seasons” as a case in point as regards small pay offs.

    • That is one of the things that aggravated me in the ’90’s when I started really paying attention to how the corruption happens. Congressmen were taking $5,000, $10,000 bribes. I mean, you are a US Congressman, have some pride, man! Hold out for at least 6 figures. If you can bribe a Congressman for 4 figures, a big corporation can bribe ALL the Congress at once. I often wondered if that is why the establishment hated Trump. I have no doubt that Trump could be bribed. However, Trump’s ego wasn’t going to let him be bribed easily. You were probably going to need to be in the 8 figure range before Trump didn’t throw you out for insulting him. This greatly limited the number of people who could influence Trump and made such influence much more costly than the establishment interests were used to.

      Western European civilization seems to be one of the few in history that was able to make bribery immoral. That didn’t stop it, but it made it expensive. By making it expensive, it made it rare. Making it rare made life better for most people. We have done away with the immorality of bribery and that has really been to the detriment of the people.

  2. I read the story on Manchin’s wife yesterday, and the first thing I thought was there goes the filibuster. I read the title of today’s entry, Now THIS Is The “Appearance of Impropriety,” and thought I sure hope Jack is taking on the Manchin story. I do not know which actually irks me more. Is it the quid pro quo, or the fact we just accept corruption as the status quo?

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