In Politics: “Cherchez la femme?”

Fitzhaber and Hayes

Fitzhaber and Hayes

By Peter Galuszka

The two governors couldn’t seem more different.

One is a popular progressive who dressed in an “urban cowboy” style of boots, jeans and down jacket and ran a state as green as a rain forest.

The other favored Joseph A. Banks suits and helmet hair-dos while pushing a “God, Mom and Apple Pie” persona that appealed to Republicans.

Oddly perhaps, especially on Valentine’s Day, women seem to be their downfall. Cherchez la femme?

Until his sudden resignation Friday, John Kitzhaber was into his fourth term as Oregon’s governor and had been highly regarded by liberals nationally for his support of populist ideals and goals involving sustainability. A former emergency physician, he won points for his low key style.

The problem was his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, who lived with him at the governor’s mansion in Salem and acted as the state’s de facto First Lady. She is under investigation for allegedly using her position to win contracts for “green” energy projects she was pushing. As probes grew, Kitzhaber resigned.

the McDonnells

the McDonnells

Sounds a lot like the case of Robert F. and Maureen McDonnell, the former first family convicted of corruption last September.

In that case, the former First Lady of Virginia (FLOVA in code), was smitten with a fast-talking vitamin producer and salesman and convinced her husband, Bob, to arrange meetings with top state officials to help.

The couple was convicted of a variety of felonies after a six week trial. McDonnell was sentenced to two years in prison and his wife is due to be sentenced Feb. 20.

Coincidentally, both governors were high fliers in their respective camps. Kitzhaber represented a particular kind of progressive Oregon way of thinking that is strongly influential throughout national politics and journalism.

McDonnell’s good looks and projection of patriotism went down so well with Republicans that he was once on the short list of 2016 GOP possibilities.

And, both women involved raise issues of what role First Ladies (officially married or not) have in state government. Are they public figures? How much influence should they really have? Are ethics laws tough enough? Do they apply to spouses? Ms. McDonnell’s lawyers suggested that she was being set up to take the fall for her husband as part of a “throw Maureen under the bus” strategy.

Issues like these are certain to come up when Maureen McDonnell appeals her conviction. Similar questions may evolve in the Hayes case as well if she ever faces criminal charges.

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41 responses to “In Politics: “Cherchez la femme?”

  1. Kitzhaber and McDonnell make me think of Immanuel Rath/Emil Jannings and Lola Lola in Blue Angel. Never smart to let the little head think for the big head.

    The other big problem is exampled by senatorial wives who come to DC and are improbably suddenly successful as real estate agents, Daschle’s/Dingell’s wives’ careers as lobbyists, or by Hillary Clinton’s remarkable profits in commodities investments, as guided by Tyson Foods – the very folks who Really Really wanted the good will of Governor Bill. A nice line from Chicago’s politics, applied to an alderman and his real estate developer wife, was ‘bedfellows make strange politics’.

  2. It truly does stink to high heaven and not at all endemic to one party or philosophy – it goes to show you that both crooks and angels can be far left or far right or in between.

    Makes some folks (like me) think that the solution is to put all these guys phone calls, emails and appointment books online …. or similar.

    At the same time (without going off the thread subject) – there is a war going on these days about FOIA and moe and more elected and appointed govt officials are saying that if that is done – it will shut down legitimate conversations, consulting and other day to day communication needed to govern and make decisions.

    I hear now -that more than a few are resorting to private email and cell phone communications to conduct business.

    Not sure what the answer is but it sure appears there is no shortage of scum sucking weasels willing to corrupt the honor and integrity of their roles and duties to serve their own interests.. For instance, Wouldn’t it be interesting to know who from Dominion has been meeting and communicating with who from the General Assembly and SCC?

  3. We see time and time again that our elected officials are corrupt. As LarryG rightly says – it’s prevalent on both sides of the aisle.

    So, when liberals want to raise taxes and expand the role of the government overseen by these corrupt politicians I have to declare ….

    Liberalism is a mental disorder.

    • Don – you have corruption and crony capitalism and rent seeking from the private sector.

      Are you saying we should also restrict the private sector because the more businesses we have the more corruption we’ll have?

      I think the problem on the right these days is simplistic thinking about a wide variety of things – complicated culture, science and governance seems to frustrate those on the right and it’s selective. Look at the Tea Party types in terms of State and Local politics – where are they?

      Where are they, for instance, on ethics or the Dominion issue?

      I’ll give credit to one conservative Va legislator – Mark Cole – who has submitted legislation to severely restrict police seizures of private property – some of it kept – without a court judgement.

      • Nobody forces you to buy anything from the private sector. In addition, you have a choice of providers and can avoid those that are more corrupt than others. The same is not true for the public sector. If you don’t fund the public sector then you go to jail. There is one mandatory retirement plan (sort of, kind of). I don’t get to decide how the money I pay into social security gets invested because … it is used exclusively to fund the deficits run up by the government managed by the corrupt officials we continually see in the news.

        There is plenty of corruption in the private sector. Most of it perpetrated in conjunction with our corrupt government. One bit of food for thought – when the Bush Administration uncovered the private sector corruption that was occurring under the Clinton Administration, what happened? Ask Bernie Ebbers – he’s still in a federal lockup. When the Obama Administration uncovered the private sector corruption that was occurring under the Bush Administration (in banking), what happened? Ole Hope ‘N Change squelched any public trial or potential incarceration of the guilty by taking shareholder funded payoffs. Google ” Alayne Fleischmann” to see Ole Hope ‘N Change in action.

        The simple and unavoidable fact is that the Bush Administration took a far more aggressive tack in prosecuting private sector crime from the dot com meltdown than the Obama Administration took in pursuing the same criminality in the far more serious “Great Recession”.

        The message is clear – if you want to rob and steal in the private sector you are best advised to do so under the phony baloney oversight of a Democratic president.

        • re: ” Nobody forces you to buy anything from the private sector. In addition, you have a choice of providers and can avoid those that are more corrupt than others.”

          you mean like Dominion or the Pirate Cable TV companies?

          “The same is not true for the public sector. If you don’t fund the public sector then you go to jail. There is one mandatory retirement plan (sort of, kind of). I don’t get to decide how the money I pay into social security gets invested because … it is used exclusively to fund the deficits run up by the government managed by the corrupt officials we continually see in the news.”

          oh bullfeathers. you have to pay taxes – yes and like most of us there are some things you don’t want to pay taxes for – like the rest of us. but we don’t agree on what..

          next problem…

          “There is plenty of corruption in the private sector. Most of it perpetrated in conjunction with our corrupt government. ”

          I actually would dispute that. How much fraud is perpetrated on the public by companies.? how much false advertising or crappy products with worthless warranties? How many companies stopped paying pensions to their workers? How many bad drugs and bad medical procedures are perpetrated on the public by the “private” sector?

          “One bit of food for thought – when the Bush Administration uncovered the private sector corruption that was occurring under the Clinton Administration, what happened? Ask Bernie Ebbers – he’s still in a federal lockup. When the Obama Administration uncovered the private sector corruption that was occurring under the Bush Administration (in banking), what happened? Ole Hope ‘N Change squelched any public trial or potential incarceration of the guilty by taking shareholder funded payoffs. Google ” Alayne Fleischmann” to see Ole Hope ‘N Change in action.”

          more phony-baloney bullfeathers.. what happened to Reagan and Ollie for Iran-Contra or Bush telling the SCOTUS that Gitmo was out of their jurisdiction or secret torture sites.. etc, etc, etc. Then on top of that – “Deficits don’t matter”. Overseas Contingency Operations done – off budget…. Massive Bank bailouts by Bush… you name it – incompetence and malfeasance out the wazoo… not exactly a paragon of competence and high ethics.

          I can point out as many counter examples as you can – examples. It’s like I said before – it happens on both sides – but that don’t keep you guys from trying to pile it up on one side. just baloney…

          “The simple and unavoidable fact is that the Bush Administration took a far more aggressive tack in prosecuting private sector crime from the dot com meltdown than the Obama Administration took in pursuing the same criminality in the far more serious “Great Recession”.”

          more ideological pap… do you follow the news about the fines being given to the banks and the expose of UBS and others?

          The message is clear – if you want to rob and steal in the private sector you are best advised to do so under the phony baloney oversight of a Democratic president.

          you might want to check the Federal prosecution of McDonnell.. for one.. and there are others…Phil Hamilton by Federal It was the Bush Administration that fired Federal Prosecutors en masse.

          you point out yourself just how feckless GOP-controlled Virginia is with regard to ethics and crony capitalism, rent seeking, the whole nine yards of nefarious behaviors.

          it happens to both sides.. that’s the simple truth.. taking sides on this just exposes those stubborn biases…

          😉

          • None is so blind as he who will not see …

            “more ideological pap… do you follow the news about the fines being given to the banks and the expose of UBS and others?”

            Fines? For criminal fraud? Let me see … Bush sent Ebbers, Naccio, et al to jail and Obama makes banking executives pay fines from shareholder funds.

            LarryG – I thought this was The Great Recession! The worst economic catastrophe since The Great Depression. And the guardian of the people – the great and majestic Obama – only forced the banking executives to fork over shareholder money. Was it the shareholders’ fault that the banking executives committed criminal fraud.

            Face it – Bush put ’em in jail and Obama let them pay out shareholder money. You tell me who has his head up big bunsiness’ butt.

            You are a chattering Obama apologist of the worst sort. Ole Hope ‘N Change has his hands deeper into the bankers’ pockets than any president since Harding.

            You’ve been conned by a master con man.

          • well no – not an apologist for Obama – he stands on his own

            but you’re a hoot for extolling the virtues of a man who told the Supreme Court that Habeas Corpus and Gitmo were not in their jurisdiction – as well as setting up black torture sites in other countries and who knows what else.

            I would not be touting the man as a paragon of honesty.. myself…

            as far getting retribution – if I recall – Bush blathered about weapons of mass destruction and mission accomplished while Obama got Bin Laden and shut down the two wars that Bush and his neoCon buddies got us mired into.

            Face it Don – Bush was an idiot. He blew up the budget, got us in two wars, passed more entitlements for Medicare and then stood in front of the country and said we had “no choice” but to bail out the banks.

            I understand why he’s your man, … now… and how you decide your vote!

        • “Nobody forces you to buy anything from the private sector.”

          I can grow food on public land now, can I? I can sleep on park benches without being roused by the police and threatened with trespassing charges?

          ” There is one mandatory retirement plan”

          Actually, using your own absolutist logic it’s not mandatory. You can just not work! Remember, you told us you don’t have to participate in the private sector!

          ” … it is used exclusively to fund the deficits run up by the government”

          Thanks Ronald Reagan and Alan Greenspan! I’m sure glad they weren’t in phony baloney oversight Democrats, though!

          “Bernie Ebbers”

          Action against Ebbers started in July 2000 when the DOJ nixed the Sprint merger. You do realize cases take time to build, right? That’s why Bernie Sanders was technically indicted under the Obama administration.

          And what’s this nonsense where Obama is somehow held accountable for private sector corruption that happened during the previous administration? It’s not the Bush administration’s fault the private sector ran wild and out of control and China syndromed the world economy, but it is Obama’s fault for not doing Bush’s job for him? But I guess since one person is good enough go ahead and put Kareem Serageldin in Obama’s column.

          Love that principled, independent point of view.

          • govt = liberals = corruption, crony capitalism, rent-seeking, BO and bad breath

            QED!

            “excerpt from the FAUX News Sound Bite Bible of Govt and Commerce”

          • Why is this hard? You can buy food from Dole, Delmonte, Perdue, etc. Which US Navy do you fund?

            Obama is not responsible for prosecuting the banking executives who committed fraud under the Bush Administration? Then I guess Bush was not responsible for prosecuting the executives who committed fraud during the dot com meltdown under Clinton.

            BTW – The first criminal charges were filed against Bernie Ebbers on August 27, 2003, well into the Bush Administration.

            Your emperor has his hands deep into the pockets of the big banks. Your emperor has no clothes. However, upon retirement, I am sure your emperor will find a great job “advising” the big bankers he kept out of jail.

          • Don, my man you blather on about Bush and getting corrupt bankers…

            tell me what he did in this video? Did he get the bad guys or did he bail them out?

            are you slipping into early alzheimers?

            http://youtu.be/YsDmPEeurfA

    • “Liberalism is a mental disorder.”

      Spoken like a true, principled independent.

      • I guess logic wasn’t on your short list of classes. Knowing that I disrespect liberalism could only impact my standing as an independent if you knew that I supported conservatism. However you don’t know that because I don’t support conservatism.

        People (liberals) who know that our government is corrupt yet want more and more money to flow into that government are deranged.

        People (conservatives) who know that our criminal justice system is corrupt yet want that system to murder people in the name of justice are deranged.

        See, that wasn’t so hard.

  4. I was struck by the parallel, too.

    I suspect we’ll see more of this. Ever since the Baby Boomer generation has come to political power, women have careers, too. That means governor’s wives (and girlfriends) have careers. There is little opportunity for stay-at-home wives to get mixed up in this kind of ugly business. But now that every First Lady (or First Girlfriend) has some kind of career ambition, we’ll probably be seeing more of this.

    I’ll also agree with everyone who observes that neither political party or end of the ideological spectrum has a monopoly on personal virtue of corruption. We’re all human, we all have frailties. Some people manage to conduct themselves with integrity, others make mistakes. Everyone bears watching.

    I would agree with Don the Ripper, though, that the more all-powerful and intrusive government becomes, the greater the temptations and opportunities for corruption. We must be ever vigilant. Citizens must step forward and play a greater role. Hopefully, I’ll have more to say about that in the near future.

    • ” that the more all-powerful and intrusive government becomes, the greater the temptations and opportunities for corruption.”

      isn’t this like saying the more that business expands – the more rent-seeking and crony-capitalism we’ll have – even if the govt does not grow at all!

      do you want to make the TSA or the NSA or Border Patrol to shrink or go away?

      The anti-regulation folks want less regulation of what they don’t want to see regulated but they want MORE regulation on what they do want to see regulated, expanded – like immigration, voter ID, and military jobs.

      When has the right advocated the govt get out of employer-provided health insurance or cut higher ED loans or get rid of subsidized Flood insurance ?

      it’s a DIFFERENCE in philosophies – not one that is legitimate and one that is not – only in the minds of the ignorati.

    • “There is little opportunity for stay-at-home wives to get mixed up in this kind of ugly business. But now that every First Lady (or First Girlfriend) has some kind of career ambition, we’ll probably be seeing more of this.”

      This is the most hilarious misinterpretation of human time management I’ve ever read. Tell me, who has more free time to interfere in the functioning of governing – someone with no job or someone with a job? Who has more time to host and indulge influence peddlers – a doctor/lawyer/teacher/janitor or a professional homemaker?

      If women would just stay in their place they’d have so much free time they wouldn’t possibly turn their lady minds to thoughts of corruption…

  5. Really don’t see how having “more” government means “more” corruption. Lots of so-called “small” government advocates push the interests of big business interests – whatever they are.

    • How about Gerry Connolly’s BoS vote to add a fourth Silver Line station next to the SAIC building on Route 7 in Tysons while Connolly was a vice president of SAIC? And the County Attorney ruled there was no conflict of interest days before he quit his job and went to work for the private sector!

      How did Lady Bird Johnson get all those TV stations?

      Corruption is a human trait found in both the public and private sectors.

      • re: ” Corruption is a human trait found in both the public and private sectors.”

        totally agree

        how much there is or not on either side ?

        I new a guy who was the transportation managing executive for a company that shipped chemicals and related products all over the country. That guy got invited to all expense trips to football games and golf resorts – year round.

        Is that the “corruption” we speak of?

        or is that “okay” for private industry but not okay for government?

        why?

        • I’ve seen a number of employment contracts that prohibit a company employee from taking anything except token gifts without permission from the employer. Most federal employees, except Congressional employees, are restricted in what they can accept in terms of gifts. As I recall, FCC cannot attend a private event unless it is open to the public (more or less) and the value of the food & beverages did not exceed $25. Those limits may have been revised since last I looked.

          I actually received a token gift from the FCC back in the 1990s as part of the industry-government team that helped roll out the then-new 888 toll free code. It was a paperweight.

          • TMT – I’m sure you are familiar with how in business, there needs to be “meetings” and the venue selected just happens to be a place with golf and casinos and fancy restaurants and you get invited in between the meetings to participate…

            the company reserves a block of hotel rooms for the attendees, and the “price” just ends up being a hell of a deal.. and includes meals… and other stuff…

            right?

            My understanding is that this is not uncommon when there is a business relationship between two companies.. The company selling the services treats the buying company folks pretty good …

            what is considered a business expense is considered corruption if one of the parties is govt and not both of them non-govt.

            Most GOP are aligned with business and most liberals are said to be anti-business and pro-regulation and yet in Don’s world that means the liberals are responsible for corruption.

            How many liberals, and Sierra Club types get put in charge of the SCC or DEQ or other state regulation? It’s almost always some GOP guy who retired from the same business he now will regulate.

    • When asked why he robbed banks Willie Sutton responded, “That’s where the money is.” The bigger government gets the more it becomes “where the money is”.

      The only way that so-called “small” government advocates can push the interests of big business is by being “big” government advocates in disguise.

      The tax loopholes voted willy nilly by the Virginia General Assembly are clearly a way of keeping the handouts from the private sector to the public sector flowing. Populist state senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) pushed legislation to cap the tax breaks at five years. After that, the General Assembly would have to overtly vote to extend those tax cuts. It was a very bipartisan group of legislators who sent that proposed legislation to the bottom of the sea.

      Petersen, a Democrat, tried to shrink the scope of government by limiting the General Assembly’s ability to grant industry and company specific tax breaks in perpetuity. This is exactly the kind of legislation that the citizens of Virginia favor. Yet our corrupt, gerrymandered, over-powered General Assembly wants to preserve its right to issue “thank you notes” in the form of company and industry specific tax breaks to campaign donors and gift givers.

      In more recent news the corrupt General Assembly wants to relieve Dominion of the need to face audits. In return, Dominion will continue to overcharge Virginia ratepayers at the same level it has been overcharging. At least that will be their unaudited and unverified promise. In this case, an expansive General Assembly has decided to take on the role reserved for the SCC. Should our corrupt, gerrymandered and over-powered General Assembly have the right to bypass the state’s regulatory apparatus?

      All fish in Virginia are regulated by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. All fish, that is, except the menhaden. Why? Because there is no organized lobby for flounder or bluefish. However, there is an organized lobby for the fishing of menhaden in the form of Texas-based Omega Protein. Omega operates the only factory style menhaden fishing operation on the East Coast. Where do you think that slaughterhouse on the sea operates? Of course, in Virginia. The state where menhaden have been specifically excluded from the normal VMRC regulatory oversight.

      Virginia has no effective separation of power. Virginia has no effective system of checks and balances. Virginia claims to be a small government state but it is anything but a small government state. It is a state of the clown show, by the clown show and for the clown show.

      We the people need to cut the bastards in Richmond down to size. We need to lock them in a small box with thick walls and we need to ensure that these cockroaches stay in their small box forever more.

      • “Petersen, a Democrat, tried to shrink the scope of government by limiting the General Assembly’s ability to grant industry and company specific tax breaks in perpetuity.”

        This actually increases the scope of government by putting the onus of extension on the GA on a repeating basis. Limiting the scope of government would be to set tax breaks and then leave them alone.

        See also, the history of corporate charters by states and how they originally needed to be periodically renewed to make sure corporations were best serving the citizens of a state until it was decided “small government” that didn’t interfere with the running of businesses was better and courts used the 14th amendment and the fiction of corporate personhood to limit government further and let corporations run free.

        • Scope of government is more dictated by its financial impact on society than its need to justify extensions of company and industry specific tax breaks. Changing the law would add no additional burden to the granting of the tax breaks. However, they would automatically expire (kind of like the Bush tax cuts). At that point the legislature could either act to extend or do nothing. Removing the special interest tax break (and they are all special interest tax breaks) be a major reduction in government meddling in the free market. Balancing this against the requirement for the General Assembly to vote to extend their corruption is, by a wide margin, a victory for limiting the power of government.

          Restricting the government from granting unending tax company and industry specific tax cuts is a reduction in government power. You know this. You are just arguing to hear yourself argue.

      • Let’s insert a bit of truth here:

        Country – Tax as % of GDP

        Timor-Leste 227.3
        Zimbabwe 49.3
        Denmark 49.0
        Belgium 46.8
        Sweden 45.8
        Cuba 44.8
        France 44.6
        Finland 43.6
        Norway 43.6
        Austria 43.4
        Lesotho 42.9
        Italy 42.6
        Bosnia and Herzegovina 41.2
        Germany 40.6
        Iceland 40.4
        Netherlands 39.8
        Swaziland 39.8
        Slovenia 39.3
        Cyprus 39.2
        Hungary 39.1
        United Kingdom 39.0
        Spain 37.3
        Argentina 37.2
        Portugal 37.0
        Israel 36.8
        Luxembourg 36.5
        Czech Republic 36.3
        European Union[2] 35.7
        Botswana 35.2
        Malta 35.2
        OECD[3] 34.8
        New Zealand 34.5
        Brazil 34.4
        Bulgaria 34.4
        Serbia 34.1
        Moldova 33.8
        Mongolia 33.8
        Poland 33.8
        Barbados 32.6
        Turkey 32.5
        Estonia 32.3
        Canada 32.2
        Seychelles 32.0
        Guyana 31.9
        Ireland 30.8
        Latvia 30.4
        Dominica 30.3
        Greece 30.0
        Mexico 29.7
        Russia 29.5
        Slovakia 29.5
        Switzerland 29.4
        Macedonia 29.3
        Namibia 28.8
        Japan 28.3
        Romania 28.1
        Ukraine 28.1
        Montenegro 28.0
        Trinidad and Tobago 28.0
        Jamaica 27.2
        Bolivia 27.0
        Tonga 27.0
        South Africa 26.9
        United States 26.9 <——————–

        • Inserting truth would require that you quote government spending as a percent of GDP. By that measure the United States jumps up to 41.6%.

          Corruption in government flows primarily from what is spent.

          • re: ” By that measure the United States jumps up to 41.6%.”

            the list I provided was a rank list of tax burden as a percent of GDP.

            what is your number? where did you get it ? got a link?

            I’m betting it’s something like breitbart of some other right wing nut job web site.

            got a credible link?

          • It STILL turns out the SAME WAY.

            The US is way down the list compared to other countries.

            The question is why do you gloom and doom types purposely igore the facts so you can pursue a double false narrative – the first that somehow the US is terrible and second that Obama is the cause of it because he has not fixed it.

            here – take a look – then come back with something that has more truth in it.

            you know – “conservative” should not mean that you have to lie your ass off to make a point… you know…???

            Country Tax burden % GDP Govt. expend. % GDP

            Timor-Leste 276.7 139.7
            Kiribati 20.2 91.8
            Cuba 24.4 66.7
            Libya 1.0 66.6
            F.S. Micronesia 12.0 65.3
            Lesotho 37.6 63.1
            Denmark 48.1 57.6
            France 44.2 56.1
            Finland 43.4 55.1
            Belgium 44.0 53.3
            Greece 31.2 51.9
            Solomon Islands 36.9 51.2
            Sweden 44.5 51.2
            Slovenia 36.8 50.8
            Austria 42.1 50.5
            Italy 42.9 49.8
            Netherlands 38.7 49.8
            Hungary 35.7 49.4
            Portugal 31.3 49.4
            Bosnia and Herzegovina 38.9 49.2
            São Tomé and Príncipe 16.8 49.0
            United Kingdom 35.5 48.5
            Ireland 27.6 48.1
            New Zealand 31.7 47.5
            Iceland 36.0 47.3
            Cyprus 26.5 46.1
            Ukraine 38.0 45.6
            Germany 37.1 45.4
            Serbia 35.2 45.2
            Spain 31.6 45.2
            Mongolia 33.1 45.1
            Iraq 1.9 44.6
            Israel 32.6 44.6
            Ecuador 17.6 44.0
            Norway 43.2 43.9
            Samoa 23.4 43.9
            Montenegro 24.2 43.8
            Poland 31.7 43.5
            Czech Republic 35.3 43.3
            Maldives 16.2 43.3
            Croatia 32.6 42.5
            Japan 27.6 42.0
            Malta 34.4 42.0
            Canada 31.0 41.9
            Luxembourg 37.1 41.8
            United States 25.1 41.6 <————————-

  6. The more pots on the government stove, the more things it can matter – a lot – to a company to influence. Cylvia Hayes was pushing for government contracts to go to her posse, and they were contracts in areas where the government had not been playing until recently. Back to the Chicago alderman and his real estate developer wife: if there is a health and safety zoning code and a set of black and white criteria for what you can build where, there is a LOT less in the way of lucrative-for-somebody decision making than if there is a general land use plan overlay to a very limiting by-right zoning and you get to build to the GLUP overlay if you contribute to an ostensibly charitable public art foundation, or something similar.

    • some of the biggest scandals in the history of the country happened long ago when the size of govt and regulation were less.

      government the world over – small govt, large govt play the corruption game.

      In some countries – companies are forced to bribe public officials to be able to operate.

      I’m not justifying any of it or excusing any of it – just saying that the premise that more govt begets more corruption is a bit simplistic..and easy to show counter examples – in very Conservative political cultures.

      conflating it with “liberalism” is just more conflating in my view. but if someone has a ranking system based on political criteria – by all means lay it out.

      by the premise – one might consider Europe – with even more govt and regulation than us would have more corruption.

      I think they may have less.. or at the least not more.

      Our problem these days is all these things have to be re-cast as some part of kabuki theatre.

      • Who lost more money in the Bernie Madoff scandal – the woman who invested $10,000 or the man who invested $10,000,000?

        Corruption may be universal but the bigger the pot of money to embezzle the more embezzlers it will attract.

        Even semi-socialist Robert Reich sees the problem (from Supercapitalism):

        “For Reich, unequivocally, the democratic process should be left only to people, not corporations. “Consumers, investors, executives and other employees all have a right to advance their interest in a democracy” (p223), but individually, not through anthropomorphic entities. A clear separation of business and politics will not be easy as ” the largest impediment to reform is one brazen fact: Many politicians and lobbyists want to continue to extort money from the private sector. That’s how politicians keep their hold on power and lobbyists keep their hold on money.” For Reich, the first step to free democracy from the corporate encumbrance “is to get our thinking straight”.(p225)”

        Let me repeat a line from that paragraph – “Many politicians and lobbyists want to continue to extort money from the private sector.”

        This is from an avowed liberal.

        By this logic, expanding the size of government is the same thing for corrupt politicians and unscrupulous lobbyists are increasing market share for a corporation. The bigger it gets, the more there is to steal.

  7. re: the more pots…on the stove…

    if business expands – or new businesses form – or new business models form – like Uber or net neutrality emerges as on issue or the emergence of cheaper solar – I don’t see that as govt “expanding” or even regulations expanding. Those are things that govt normally is involved in.

    but even if that were true – the premise that govt influence just naturally expands is, in my view, yet another unproven sound-bite … essentially anti-govt concept almost as if – the govt should not address changes in the marketplace.

    Uber comes along – a disruptive innovation.. and what do you do?

    Is the correct path forward to just not regulate Uber – to get our of the regulation business because it’s “bad”? If you choose to address Uber does that mean govt is “expanding” and illegitimately and only bad can come from it?

    I just don’t see how every twist and turn with the economy and govt’s role in it – as proof that govt expands and in in expanding – bad things happen.

    Uber is an example, in my view. of how govt reacted – tried to find a balance and moved forward. Some folks would characterize that – as unwarranted govt regulation of a market innovation that should be exempt from regulation. Others would see it as a legitimate responsibility of govt … the point is – that the “anti” folks in my view
    do not really come out and disclose their change in their view of what govt should or
    should not be doing.

    EPAs regulation of – storm water, carbon-dioxide, the Chesapeake Bay – can be viewed as an expansion or it can be viewed like the EPAs response to Kepone and Dioxin or PCBs when they became a problem. Would you not have the EPA get involved when businesses started dumping Kepone, Dioxin, or PCBs or other toxics because it was a “new” thing that the EPA never regulated previously? When a new toxic finds it’s way into business and then into the environment – should the EPA stay out of it because it’s already regulating “too much”?

    I don’t buy this mindset and I find it curious that the folks that do – don’t get up and make the Prima facie case for govt to stop “expanding” it’s “regulation.

    Its almost like a shadow movement where the believed philosophy is that govt regulation is wrong, bad, illegitimate – and you vote that way on legislation – but you never really come out in front of voters – and make that case directly to the folks that voted you in – that you will no longer regulate because you think it is wrong and govt involvement with regulation is fundamentally in opposition to a market that would operate far better without govt involving itself.

    That’s the biggest problem with the right. They have an almost secret attitude towards the govt and regulation but will not just come out and be honest about it with the folks that vote them in and instead undermine legislation when and where their actions are not easily revealed to the voters.

    They involve themselves with ALEC and others like the Koch boys but never really step up in front of the public and tell the voters that’s what they believe in and are doing and how they have changed their attitude with respect to the role of govt AND they label those that continue to believe in the legitimacy of the role of govt as “liberals”.

    20, 30 years ago – you would have called most all GOP – “liberals” using this criteria. The EPA came into being during Richard Nixon’s Administration.

    ERISA – the legislation that regulates how companies do pensions and health care was done in George Bush’s administration. Bush also supported and signed legislation for Medicare Part D – Prescription Drugs and Medicare Advantage.

    Since that time – most GOP that supported that legislation has been rejected and discredited and the “new” GOP disavows basically all of what the “old” GOP stood for and yet they act like that “liberals” have changed. They have not. They support the role of govt as they always have – and, truth be known, how much of the GOP also supported.

    The change is with the right…

    • Do you honestly contend that the scope of government has not been increasing over the past 40 years? A simple look at the percentage of US GDP consumed by government spending refutes that idea.

      The question is why we would continue to expand an overtly corrupt set of institutions.

      When the dot com meltdown exposed obvious corruption in the private sector the Sarbanes – Oxley legislation was passed.

      There have been endless examples of government corruption – some illegal and some legal (because politicians fundamentally like legal corruption). Where is the outrage among our elected officials at this public corruption? Where is the ethics legislation in Virginia with teeth? I agree with Del Scott Surovell – the proposed ethics legislation was so horribly toothless that it amounted to a charade. He was right to vote “no” and demand better. However, as you should expect, it passed.

      What I see in our ever expanding government is not only corruption but a system based on corruption where more government equals higher revenues from corruption for the corrupt. Our politicians at the local, state and federal level have no intention of addressing either the illegal or legal corruption in government. They also protect themselves with inherently un-democratic behavior like gerrymandering, making it hard for third parties to get on the ballot and a requirement for excessive money to mount a campaign. Against that backdrop – why would anybody support expansion?

      • “Do you honestly contend that the scope of government has not been increasing over the past 40 years? A simple look at the percentage of US GDP consumed by government spending refutes that idea.”

        okay – lets go through the numbers –

        What is govt now doing that they were not doing 40 years ago?

        the EPA was created 44 years ago. Clean Air and Water, more
        than 40 years ago

        Medicare – 48 years ago

        OSHA – 44 years ago

        Govt supported Employer Provided Health care – 70 years

        the FDIC – 70 years ago

        THe FED – 1913

        so – serious question – what has expanded ?

  8. It seems the common thread in all this corruption is too much money consolidated in the hands of people who don’t know how to properly handle it. Since these irresponsible people could use a little less leverage and the United States has some debt to settle (among other projects that could be undertaken) let’s just raise taxes on the rich until they’re not quite as influential and the federal debt they claim to be so worried about is paid down.

    • The US tax code is the swiss cheese of govt crony capitalism and rent seeking.

      More than a trillion dollars in tax breaks are provided – enough to completely wipe out the deficit and pay down the debt.

      We sell Medicare to people who make 85K in income – for 105.00 a month.

      We sell subsidized flood insurance to people who own two or more homes.

      we allow people who own million dollar homes (more than one) to write off the mortgage interest – which reduces their taxable income substantially – so the US govt is basically financing people’s homes – not just one modestly-priced home – but mansions… beach-front rentals, etc…

      millions of people get health insurance through employer provided – which if not for the Govt – would be denied health insurance in the “free market”.

      all this blather about liberals and corruption is just more FAUX News kabuki theatre.. for those who feel more secure with sound-bite concepts of the real world, GAWD forbid they have to actually deal with realities!

      • Larry, which Democrats have proposed legislation that would remove the tax exempt status of employer-provided health care insurance (irrespective of percentage or amounts paid)? Indeed, as I recall, labor unions are fighting the ACA’s Cadillac tax. So are the Democrats and Republicans on the Fairfax County BoS. They think it is unfair to subject the County’s health care plans to taxation.
        Maybe we can tax all citizens so that illegals can be given free health care insurance?

        • TMT – you keep getting confused between what LIBERALS – DO SUPPORT – and what the GOP says they don’t support.

          The Liberals LIKE the govt helping out people with health care.

          The GOP says it’s wrong – except they ignore the existing ways the govt helps.

          in terms of paying for “illegals” or whoever else – when you get rid of EMTALA then come back and talk – but until you do – then your choice is not to pay but how you want to pay and do you want to pay the most cost effectively or do you want to pretend you don’t pay – and end up paying the most expensive way?

          this is what I mean when I say folks are not dealing with the realities but instead what they’d like to believe.

          I do not agree that we should not pay for the poor but I do live in a country where majority rules and if that is the choice of the majority then I’ll live with it because that’s how we govern.

          But what I cannot stand is hypocrisy.. saying one thing.. doing another.. pretending one thing instead of acknowledging the reality.

          talk the talk -then walk the walk.

          Liberals want to help others – the GOP says that’s wrong… so behave the way you say you believe…

        • In terms of expanded government, I touched on new innovations – like Uber and whether folks consider the govt doing regulations for Uber as “expanded” govt or not.

          Here’s another.

          Drones.

          If the govt regulates drones – is that considered “expanded” government?

          is the thinking that govt already “regulates”. “too much” so that the govt should not be regulating drones at all -just stay out of it all together.

          or should the govt regulate drones?

          and if they do – that does add new regulations, more govt involvements, a new agency, more govt employees – etc.

          Is that “expanded government”?

    • Again, no logic. The people who don’t know how to properly handle the money are our politicians. Please go reread the original article. It is about the Governor of Oregon and his girlfriend misusing taxpayer funds. Running more money through the hands of our present political class will only allow that corrupt group of people to steal more of our money.

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