Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hard to believe extent that ethics lapsed in GWBush administration

On some levels, the details of misdeeds by now-former Bush Administration officals should come as no surprise. Sadly, we have had more than our share of corruption cases in every recent administration. But the alarming information is the level at which some of those involved served and the arrogance that these former officials display now that they are out of office. The Legal Times reports today on a case involving the former chief of staff to the attorney general.

These are supposed to be the people enforcing the laws, not breaking them. (To be fair, David Ayres has not been charged with any crimes... yet, but his decision to decline to testify on the grounds that his testimony might incriminate him is most disturbing.) Of course, the Bush Justice Department was for a while headed by Alberto Gonzales, who disgracefully let politics guide his legal actions and arrogantly promoted himself as a "legal expert" earlier this year, commenting on President Obama's nominees and other issues. The New York Times puts this in the right perspective, which Gonzales certainly doesn't have.

And let's not forget some of the other upstanding Bush Administration officials:

  • President Bush, who considered it legal to sign legislation into law but issue "signing statements" giving him the authority to ignore those laws. (See
  • Vice President Cheney, whose incredulously broad interpretation of executive powers with regard to terrorism suspects and other intelligence activities were roundly rejected by the Supreme Court and who considered it perfectly fine to disclose the identity of a CIA operative for political gain.
  • "Scooter" Libby, who became the fall-guy for the Valerie Plame disclosure scandal.
  • David Safavian, the administration's top procurement official, who was indicted in October 2005 for involvement in the Jack Abramoff lobbying and bribery mess.
I hope and pray that the current administration sets a new tone for ethics in public office. Even though it seems every new president makes this promise, we are long overdue for this promise to be kept.

For a compilation of White House officials indicted over the years, see

(Thanks to @cbsandrewcohen and @Legal_Times for pointing out the Ayres matter today. The comments above are solely mine.)

Posted via web from Doug's posterous

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