I apologize in advance for this, because I assume all of you are as sick of commentary on Hillary, her book promotion tour, and her endless stream of statements that validate everything her critics have been saying for over a decade. However, her latest ethically tone-deaf statement is a special category of dishonesty that I vowed long ago to flag every time it was tried by a public figure, and given a pass by the news media. So here we are.
Hillary responded to the growing controversy over her absurd speaking fees, which she charges to universities as well as corporations, by saying this to ABC’s Ann Compton:
“All of the fees have been donated to the Clinton Foundation for it to continue its life-changing and life-saving work. So it goes from a foundation at a university to another foundation.”
Giving money to another individual’s charity of choice is indistinguishable from giving money directly to that individual. If a lobbyist gives corporate money to a politician’s charity, for example, that’s a crime in most states, and should be. The charity dodge is a popular one with corrupt individuals, because the average member of the public, being among those whom Abraham Lincoln noted that you can fool all the time, and also possessing the ethics analysis skills of the typical whippet, just nod and say, “Oh. Okay!” Continue reading
To be fair, she really needs the money…
Hillary Clinton has sounded the alarms (lest Sen. Elizabeth Warren sound it louder) over student dept and the high cost of college education. Then she has blithely accepted nearly two million dollars to give one hour canned speeches at eight universities, including four public institutions.
This is causing some anger on campuses, as it should. How can a school raise tuition, claim that it is strapped for funds, and then pay a wealthy woman over $200,000 to give a speech? It can’t—not responsibly or ethically. Nor is it responsible or ethical for the speaker, while stating publicly that she deeply cares about higher education, to ask for and accept such funds.
The issue came to light after University of Las Vegas students began protesting a scheduled speech by Clinton at her going rate of $225,000, asking her to return the fee. What has followed is a lot of rationalizing and lame defenses of the indefensible.
Fact: no school should be paying the equivalent of a student’s multi-year tuition for a one hour speech, even if Abraham Lincoln has agreed to come from beyond the grave to give it.
Fact: no decent, caring public figure should charge or accept such a fee. Continue reading
I don’t see how a justice system that allows this nonsense can maintain any credibility whatsoever. Thus my brains and skull fragments are scattered all over my office. Read on at the peril of a blown cranium.
James Romano is the police chief of Scott Township and a part-time police officer in Dickson City in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. Last year, he was investigating sexual misconduct charges against a local high school teacher that he had filed himself. Romano began a romantic relationship with a woman whom he was interviewing as part of that investigation. In the process, he revealed confidential investigative information about the case ( he told her she was “his favorite victim”), and when he learned that she was going to be interviewed by authorities, Romano texted her a message saying “just remember nothing about me,” and later told her not to tell the truth to investigators. Roman was charged with two counts of intimidation of a witness or victim, and one count of obstructing administration of law or other governmental function.
Are you ready? Romano pleaded guilty and agreed to resign his post, but his lawyer persuaded Lackawanna County President Judge Thomas Munley to defer Romano’s sentencing until the state confirms that the former chief will receive his pension, a determination that may not be made until Mr. Romano turns 50, seven years from now.
The U.S.’s recent experiment with a Senator-President has been disheartening—persuasive words unhinged to action and actual principles. There was a remarkable example of this in the President’s NSA speech, in fact, in a quote that would have been the Ethics Quote of the Month had it not been so cynical coming from him. The President said…
“Given the unique power of the state, it is not enough for leaders to say: Trust us, we won’t abuse the data we collect. For history has too many examples when that trust has been breached. Our system of government is built on the premise that our liberty cannot depend on the good intentions of those in power; it depends on the law to constrain those in power.”
Wonderful! If only this had been uttered by a leader with credibility and integrity, rather than one who has shrugged off, firing no one, interference with the federal election process by the IRS, illegal spying by the NSA, and the intentional facilitation of illegal firearms coming into the murderous hands of drug cartels by his Justice Department, after bombing Libya illegally in defiance of law, selectively enforcing immigration laws, using drones to kill American citizens abroad without due process, making recess appointments when the Senate wasn’t in recess, and more recently, unconstitutionally amending the ACA on his own after it was signed into law.
This was all foretold, however. Community organizers and senators make speeches and inspire people, but unfortunately seldom have a clue how to actually govern unless, as Obama himself has wistfully noted, they have absolute power. This is why, in theory, at least, state governors, who at least have experience governing, now seem like a better recruitment field for the next occupant of the Oval Office. It sounds good in the abstract, but the recent news from the state houses is like ice water in the face—-
I have a lot of catching up to do with ethics issue backed up as far as the eye can see, so I will try to deal efficiently with the three Ethics Dunces that confronted me this morning:
Ethics Dunce #1 : The Washington Post Continue reading
Two Denver TV stations are feuding, and why? Because one of them refused to allow the other to suppress news footage that was embarrassing to a news anchor.
On February 8, KUSA-Channel 9 news anchor Kyle Dyer was interviewing the owner of Max, an 85-pound Argentine Mastiff, and the firefighter who had rescued the dog from an icy pond. I saw the video. Dyer had me wincing throughout the interview, showing herself to be the most dangerous kind of dog lover, someone who is fond of animals but naive and ignorant about their behavior. She kept rubbing the dog’s ears and face during the interview, and the mastiff was obviously stoic but stressed by the strange environment, the cameras, and this women talking and running her hands all over him. Mastiffs are gentle dogs, but very shy; it was clear to me that Dyer was not according sufficient respect and caution to a powerful creature. As the interview ended, she suddenly moved in to kiss the dog on the muzzle, and the dog reacted defensively, biting her on the face and taking off part of her lip. She was seriously injured, and she had to have 75 stitches. Continue reading
Wow, that was fast.
Rick Perry has Jenny McCarthy's vote back...and that's worth a little more cervical cancer, right Governor?
It didn’t take long for newly-minted GOP presidential contender Rick Perry, now leading in the polls, to tell us what we needed to know about his values and integrity.
He doesn’t have them.
Back in 2007, I awarded Perry an Ethics Hero designation for leading Texas to become the first state in the nation to mandate vaccination of young girls for the human papilloma virus, or HPV, which is sexually transmitted and can cause cervical cancer. “Requiring young girls to get vaccinated before they come into contact with HPV is responsible health and fiscal policy that has the potential to significantly reduce cases of cervical cancer and mitigate future medical costs,” Perry said then in a news release explaining his executive order. Now, however, Perry is declaring what I thought was a courageous decision four years ago “a mistake.”
I hereby revoke his Ethics Hero award. Continue reading
Lawrence J. Ellison, the chief executive of Oracle, ridiculed Hewlett-Packard’s directors for forcing the resignation of the H.P. chief executive, Mark V. Hurd.
We all owe a debt of gratitude to Ellison, for his attempt to defend a fellow CEO and friend is an abject lesson in why large corporations have to be watched carefully. Too many of them are run by those like Mr. Hurd, who believe that making his company lots of money entitle him to break rules and cut corners in ways that their companies tells their subordinates are violation of company policy and business ethics. And far too many board members of big corporations are like Mr. Ellison, not only excusing this attitude, but endorsing it. Continue reading