Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Baucus affair is an unethical mess

  What’s so bad about Max Baucus recommending his girlfriend for a U. S. Attorney job? Nothing, according to Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who said that Max Baucus is “a good friend and outstanding senator, and he has my full support.”
Even Washington watchdog Melanie Sloan, former prosecutor and head of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington defends Baucus.
“Obviously, he showed bad judgment.” Sloan told the New York Daily News. “It certainly tarnishes his image, but I can’t think of what rule he violated.”
Sloan and Reid and other Baucus defenders should think about ethics. As Jack Marshall, who does think about ethics points out, Baucus violated several provisions of the code of ethics for U.S. government employees:

§        Employees shall not use public office for private gain.
§        Employees shall act impartially and not give preferential treatment to any private organization or individual.
§        Employees shall endeavor to avoid any actions creating the appearance that they are violating the law or the ethical standards promulgated pursuant to this order.
Baucus compounded his unethical behavior by not disclosing his relationship to the White House, to Montana's other senator, or to the lawyer who was vetting potential candidates, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Senators seem to be brain dead when it comes to ethics. If they let Baucus off they’ll prove it once again to the world.

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