Political Job Offers: Abuse of Public Trust and Tax Dollars

Time Magazine’s Mark Halperin — White House Statement On Romanoff Doesn’t Answer All The Questions


Many have dismissed the Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff job offer controversy as political gamesmanship by Republicans. Throwing mud at political appointees that each side uses to further their own goals is political gamesmanship, just as offering  jobs to control who is on the ballot is political gamesmanship. There is already plenty of political gamesmanship in politics.

It’s fair game for Republicans to throw the hypocrisy mud at Obama, because Obama said his administration would be the most “open and transparent” government in history. It’s no different than pointing out the hypocrisy of congressional representative Souder having an affair while advocating abstinence.

Pointing out political hypocrisy generally doesn’t change public opinion. Supporters would say, “The higher you set you moral standards, the harder they are to live up to,” while opponents will declare, “I knew they were full of it the entire time.” Hypocrisy is viewed through the hypocritical lens of one’s political persuasion.

Unfortunately, the political gamesmanship by both sides will overshadow the issue: political appointments as a reward is a violation of the public trust. Offering jobs may be legal and therefore politicians can claim they are not improper, but that does not mean the practice is not harmful.

Elections are supposed to be about voters choosing who they would like to represent them; persuading someone to drop out of a race interferes with the public’s right to pick their representatives and is part of the reason why incumbents are so likely to be reelected.

It would clearly be illegal to offer money to a candidate to drop out of a race, whereas offering them positions paid for by tax payers dollars is not illegal. In essence, these political bribes are paid for by you and me and it’s all perfectly legal.

Then there is the damage done by these political appointments when the people appointed  are not the best qualified for the job. When the “best person for the job” is determined by who best maintains political power, you wind up with an inept, ineffectual and corrupt government.

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