Thursday, July 29, 2010

Good Judgment; Poor Judgment

My Dad use to tell me when I was growing up, if you want to know the heart of a man (or woman) watch what he does with his money.  Another Dad’ism was, “Always Follow the Money”.  Here he meant that you can predict a persons loyalties by considering where his money comes from.

I will state up front, I have worked for AT&T for over 15 years and many of my points of view, especially as it comes to questions associated with telecommunications, reflect a point of view that reflects my pride in my company, the offers that we have and our philosophical approach to the marketplace.  My opinions are my own and do not reflect official company positions, occasionally I disagree with company decisions and feel embarrassed with our mistakes, still my sympathies lie with the company that rewards my work.

My point in stating this is to acknowledge that it is human nature to, at minimum, be sympathetic to the sources of our funding.  That is why it is so important to disclose and try to avoid situations where our ethics may be compromised by the potential influence from whoever provides our funding.  As a private citizen, where I am not responsible for the people's money, the standards of ethics applied to me are at one level.   Disclosing who I work for and that it might influence my judgement is consistent with what most people expect of a private citizen.

When you are a public official, I submit, you must operate at a much higher ethical level.

A tale of two politicians

This morning, it was reported that Virginia State Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, has decided to give up the questionable donations made to him by Bobby Thompson, a Florida man who served as a director of a charity under investigation in at least four states, including Virginia.

This demonstrates, principled good judgment on the part of Cuccinelli so that he can avoid both the substance and appearance of improper influence by this man under investigation.

Moran[1]Sadly, this same kind of principled good judgment can not be said by our 8th District Congressman, Jim Moran.  Hiding under the cover of recent exoneration by the Democratically controlled, House ethics committee, Congressman Moran continues on his path of accepting contributions by business leaders associated with companies he obtained millions of dollars in federal earmarks.

Again, as my Dad use to say, “you want to know how a person is likely to behave, follow the money.”  It is a pretty strong bet that Congressman Moran will have sympathies for these companies and will look for opportunities to funnel more federal dollars to them.  Bringing home the bacon has been a time-honored political practice, but when your campaign accepts donations back from these companies, it strains credibility that your judgment will not be compromised, just ask former Congressman Randy Cunningham.

I ask the voters in the 8th District to join me in demanding that Jim Moran stop the practice of accepting donations from companies he has delivered earmarks to and return the money he has already accepted.  I mean, who do you want your congressman working for, you, or a small handful of local businessmen?

Let Freedom Ring.

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