Monday, September 12, 2005

Jerry Springer, Are You Listening?

This last week in Oregon , two embarrassing stories involving members of the Oregon Legislature made news. In one case, former Representative Dan Doyle R-Salem plead guilty to 11 counts in a scheme where he falsified campaign financial documents, claiming money was spent on advertising, when instead he diverted more than $150,000 from his campaign donations to his personal use. His wife, Victoria pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false campaing spending document for a failed political campaign she was involved with. This type of old fashioned theft is nothing new for politics.

But last week also brought out an outrageous story involving State Representative Kelley Wirth-D, Corvallis. And this story was so outrageous that it belongs on a TV scandal show like Jerry Springer. It seems that 40 year old Rep. Wirth, had a romantic relationship with a janitor in the Oregon State Capitol which lasted for 6 months. When the janitor tried to break off the relationship with Ms. Wirth, she refused to accept it, and attemped to continue the relationship, which led to the janitor filing a sexual harassment complaint at the State Capitol against Rep. Wirth. Wirth went over to the janitor's residence, and a terrible argument between the janitor, the 23 year old former girlfriend of the janitor, and Wirth took place. The girlfriend became so angry at Wirth that she followed Wirth over to the State Capitol and attempted to run Wirth down and kill her with her automobile. Wirth survived the attack, but was injured and required surgery for injuries to her legs.

It would seem reasonable to expect that some sort of ethics for members of the Oregon State Legislature would forbid such a relationship between workers at Capitol. Such a relationship reminds one of the unequal relationship between President Clinton and the 21 year old intern, Monica Lewinsky. These unequal relationships involve someone in a position of power often with a much younger person of far lower rank being involved in an unhealthy "office" relationship. But the bad feelings created over the Wirth office romance nearly resulted in murder. A political office is no place for persons of power to use as a dating service. On one hand, the whole story seems like an unsavory story similar to those on programs like Jerry Springer. On the other hand, it will be interesting whether Wirth will seek re-election , and whether voters will return someone to office who used the Oregon Capitol as a dating service, as though it was one of the perks of that elective office. The whole situation is very regrettable and inappropriate for a elected official in my opinion.