Ethics rules for politicians will help restore trust
It was interesting that a report came out last week about the public’s disapproval of Congress at the same time the state Legislature was getting a first look at a proposal for a three-strikes rule for politicians.
People are disillusioned nationwide with the lack of quick solutions to the Iraq war and with the scandals and partisanship of recent years.
There’s a perception that much of government is done out of the public’s eye, whether it’s no-bid contracts in Iraq or under-the-table deals to secure pork-barrel projects. Even though the number has improved since the November elections, some 58 percent of people disapprove of the work of Congressional lawmakers.
So it was reassuring that a proposed constitutional amendment introduced Friday would remove state politicians from office for three ethical violations. It will be interesting to see who, if anyone, stands in opposition. Nobody, we hope, unless it is to suggest more ways to make the workings of government more open, which would include a tougher reporting standard for campaign-disclosure laws that would allow voters to see who is trying to buy influence.
It would be hard to imagine someone making the case that an ethics rule is too tough for elected officials.
If there is truly an interest in restoring public trust in government, politicians on the state and national level should err on the side of overshooting the target on ethics reform.
Our founding fathers had no concept of baseball, but it’s likely if they had a say in this political game they would have leaned toward one strike, and you’re out.