Thursday, September 29, 2005

Corruption In American Politics Is A Bipartisan Enterprise

American politics is a massive money machine. And being surrounded by a system built on so much money, often helps to encourage corruption. Since 1947, more than 47 congressmen have been indicted for corruption charges, both democrats and republicans. Even state politics involves corruption. In Oregon, democrat Peg Jolin was removed from office in a scandal that involved the use of campaign funds to purchase a Mustang convertible. And a former Republican lawmaker pled guilty to charges involving the misuse of $150,000 in campaign funds for his personal use very recently.

But the indictment of Texas Rep. Tom Delay by a Austin grand jury on the charge of misusing his Washington PAC to launder corporate funds in violation of state law to channel back to candidates for the Texas state legislature in an effort to gain republican control of the Texas house is a unique scandal, that appears to have been promoted by so much corporate money flowing through the American political system , as well as high partisan moltivations on the part of Delay. It will now be the job of Delay and his legal team to disprove the intent to circumvent the claimed moneytrail of the scheme in the indictment to a judge and jury.

Almost instantly, an unfortunate effort by some republicans to defend Delay has taken place. Many claim that prosecutor, Ronnie Earle is a partisan figure in democratic state politics. And of course he is. However Mr. Earle has seperated his personal politics from his duties as prosecutor and has indicted 12 democrats and 2 republicans of public corruption charges. The professional seperation of the duty for a public prosecutor from the personal politics of Ronnie Earle disproves this weak premise.

And a futher unfortunate step by some defenders of Delay is to take normal and lawful activity of some democratic lawmakers at any level of government and to charge that an investigation has been deliberately ignored for partisan reasons. Yet like Ronnie Earle, most prosecutors are professionals, and a history of both democrats and republicans have faced charges in every state. No one party has been unfairly targeted that can be proven. This is another weak premise to justify Tom Delay against the indictment brought against him.

And on the reverse side, some democratic leaning Websites will no doubt have some posts that claim that the Tom Delay indictment proves that republicans are somehow "inherently dishonest", when all proof is that both democrats and republicans have faced charges in all states in cases of public corruption.

It is true that the Delay indictment is hurtful to republicans, in that he was an effective fundraiser and also an embarrassment to the party that has so heavily courted Christian voters and has claimed to embrace values. Any form of corruption is very contrary to Christian values expected to reflect honesty and integrity. And Delay even used a recent Christian event to help himself politically during allegations of ethics questions in the past few weeks.

Prosecutor Ronnie Earle said it best when he stated that his office has prosecuted four times as many democrats as republicans, and the Delay matter is about "cops and robbers". And Christians who are called to high standards of honesty should have no part in any activity that should be seen as the activity of "robbers".

If Tom Delay is ultimately found guilty of the ethics charge, then it should be hoped that the Christian organizations who rallied to his defense a few weeks ago will accept that his values are in conflict with the values of God and Holy Scripture. However if Delay is found innocent of the charge, then he needs the forgiveness found of all innocent persons to be expected from a Biblical standard of basic decency to others.

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