Government Corruption: What to Know to Protect Ourselves

Government corruption is the use of the power of office to obtain personal endowment for self-gain. An easy every-day example would be, a mayor of a city using money issued to be spent on roads on a new car in the mayor’s name.

Illinois Governor Blagojevich is alleged to have attempted to sell, or barter with, the appointment of the Illinois-state Senator seat and other privileges he holds in office.

The mass media often fails to illustrate that there in fact many brands of corruption and that it is significant to understand what the major categories are. Political corruption and government corruption are the most relevant in a discussion of recent and semi-recent corruption in America.

We must indeed guard against any corruption in office but the blanket definition of simply the word ‘corruption’ by itself in a serious national discussion is bereft of value to the public.

[Read ‘Truth About Lobbyists and Public-Interest Groups’ on this site for an explanation of lobby corruption.]

Political corruption stems primarily from non-ethical actions in office and the condoning of the non-ethical actions of others. The events leading to the impeachment of President Richard Nixon was an example of political corruption on a national scale.

Government corruption is far less apparent for the public sources of information to be aware of. The ability to predict and prevent against this brand of corruption is not a task that a citizen can do more than advocate against complacency on.

The responsibility to uncover the government corruption falls on the government themselves and to the credible press.

Any official who abuses their office may not in turn break a serious enough ethical code or law to be removed from office. The charges against a corrupt official might not be sufficient to prove a case for some time, and in the meanwhile the office is in jeopardy.

A corrupt official most likely would not disclose their agenda to other significant officials unless they had some prior knowledge that this person would be of negotiable ethics. This isolates the principled officials from coming into to personal conservations with corrupt officials in which they might be able to rout out corruption first-hand.

It is within some reasonable possibility that Illinois Governor Blagojevich and any possible illegal actions he has committed in while office was not unnoticed by President-elect Obama or that there was some innuendo in Illinois circles that the Governor had questionable ethics.

Barring proof of foreknowledge we cannot accuse a person, just as we must refrain in the mass media and in our minds from a summary judgment of Blagojevich.

At this time any comments on the level of awareness of any Illinois politicians in alleged government corruption is pure speculation and no significant source has come forward to offer evidence of any connection between the allegations against Blagojevich and Obama.

Were any politician to make charges of corruption against another official and failed to prove their case before the courts and the people they would certainly lose their position and credibility.

The motivation of a national figure in modern politics includes consideration of such possibilities before pursuing a crusade against corruption. It is very important to understand this before we condemn our representatives for not throwing the disreputable and dishonest representative out of office when they sat next to them for years.

The seriousness of the crime and the loss of integrity to our government is not lessened in by political corruption over government corruption. Both offenses are the nature of what cause the loss of faith in representatives among the people of our nation.

It is highly likely that Gov. Blagojevich is about to undergo similar proceedings to what happened in the Nixon-age.

We the people must guard ourselves both in holding our representatives to high standards but also in providing a court within ourselves to the hear the case of this person said to be guilty of corruption. The ideal of innocent until proven guilty is as important within our observance of politics as it is to the legal system.

This citizen source would love to interview the Illinois Governor, who has refused to address any press until trial. I would not pronounce him corrupt by default of allegation and I am generally interested in hearing his case for the people of Illinois.



Eric Lightborn

December 20th 2008