Posts Tagged ‘Arlen Specter’

What’s with the Sestak case: felony, political stupidity, or bad ethics?

May 28, 2010

Ethics Bob has to comment on the Sestak case, under penalty of losing his ethicist license. First, the background.

While campaigning in the Democratic primary for the U.S. senate seat from Pennsylvania against incumbent Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Democrat Arlen Specter, Congressman Joe Sestak said that the Administration had offered him a big job, hinted to be Secretary of the Navy, if he would get out of the race. He wouldn’t say who made the offer, and the White House wouldn’t say anything. After winning the primary mostly because Specter kept getting confused about which party’s endorsement he was seeking, Sestak repeated the claim, then became coy about who and what, finally clamming up completely.

In the wake of a furor on all sides over a possible felony and cover-up, the White House this morning released its official review of the affair by White House Counsel Robert F. Bauer. There had been an effort, made not by the White House staff but by Bill Clinton, (haha), “to determine whether Congressman Sestak would be interested in [uncompensated] service on a Presidential or other Senior Executive Branch Advisory Board.”

The lawyer’s memo gave a traditional lawyer’s analysis:

· We didn’t do it.

· The guy who did it didn’t make an offer, he just asked a question.

· The question wasn’t about a real job, just about an unpaid advisorship.

· It was perfectly legal when he did it.

· Everybody does it. (more…)

Charlie Crist becomes an independent. Ethical?

April 29, 2010

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist today announced his candidacy for Florida’s open Senate seat. Crist had been a huge favorite to win, but as the anti-incumbent fever grew Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio swept far past Crist in the polls of Republican primary voters.

Crist is a centrist Republican, a breed that is rapidly becoming extinct. Seeing no chance to win the Republican primary that had appeared his for the taking a few months ago, Crist announced today that he would contest the November election as an independent.

Is it ethical for a politician to change parties? It depends. When Pennsylvania voters reelected Arlen Specter to a fifth Senate term in 2004 they elected him as a Republican—an affiliation he had embraced ever since changing from a Democrat in 1965 to challenge the Democratic district attorney of Philadelphia. Specter saw his growing estrangement from the people who vote in the Republican primary, decided he had little chance to be nominated for reelection, so, Presto! He became a Democrat. Specter’s move was unethical: (more…)