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Paul Schmitz
Public Service Leader

Paul Schmitz

Paul Schmitz is CEO of Public Allies, which, through AmeriCorps and other programs, identifies and prepares young community and non-profit leaders.

Democrats Need to Police Themselves

I think that the bigger question here is how will Democrats police themselves now that they control the Executive and Legislative branches. The Republicans set a pretty low bar for making government more ethical when they held all the levers of power.

President-elect Obama's ethics policies and campaign promises for government reform are a great start, but the Congress and the Democratic Party have to step up to the plate, too. If the party hopes to lead long-term, they might think of sharing with all public officials the following message:

"We do not tolerate any breeches of the public trust and any efforts to use public office for private gain by you, your family members, your donors, or your friends. If you are found to be violating our ethics policies, we will throw you under the bus. You are not one of us if your actions defy the values of our party and the public trust. We believe in the rule of law and that you are innocent until proven guilty. But we will say to the public that if the allegations against you are true, they are outrageous, despicable, and should be punished to the greatest extent of the law. There will be no winks, no leniency, and no deals. We mean it."

The unfortunate failures in the private sector almost require government to be more trust-worthy. Our citizens are hoping that government will do more for them, and are seeking a new standard. Now that the Democrats are in charge, they have a chance to demonstrate to Americans that they understand and value the public trust. We need them to do that.

By Paul Schmitz

 |  December 15, 2008; 2:35 PM ET
Category:  Politics Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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""... but Congress and the Democratic Party will have too step up too".
Actually, Barack Obama will have to force them to step up if he wants to be successful. Things got worse after the democrats took over and the new president will need to show Courage to take on the Chris Dodds and Chuck Schumers.

Posted by: wpeddy | December 16, 2008 1:35 AM
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