Jesse Jackson, Jr.: Why one-party anything leads to corruption

22 Nov

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: First, moi wishes former Rep. Jackson the best. He is the poster child along with Detroit, Gary and other one-party towns about how true the maxim “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The entitled class extends to Congress. James Warren writes in the Daily Beast article, Why Jesse Jackson Jr.’s Leave of Absence Was Allowed:

Pressured by federal investigators, Jesse Jackson Jr.’s final congressional act exhibited some decency toward his constituents. They’ll finally have actual representation again next spring, after a special election and months of a no-show Jackson.

President Obama’s home state has not merely lost another congressional seat due to population decline. It also has Jackson’s South Side district that will go unrepresented for another five months and a senator who hasn’t been to work in nearly a year.

The public seems ill served by the absences of Jackson, who resigned Wednesday amid an investigation around illegal use of campaign funds, and Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, who suffered a stroke in January—especially with major budget and fiscal issues looming. But congressional rules largely leave it up to the individual politician to announce if and when they’re ready to return, or to assess if they’re even capable of handling the job.

In some cases, you’ve had senators who didn’t show for years,” said Donald Ritchie, the historian of the U.S. Senate.

While Democrat Jackson quit, Republican Kirk remains a member of the Senate while enduring a typically slow recovery.

Jackson had been reelected on Nov. 6 despite taking an initially unpublicized leave of absence in June, his legal travails, not campaigning at all, and the bipolar disorder that necessitated a long stay at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He’s been mostly living in his Washington home with his wife, who herself is a generally absentee Chicago alderman, and their children. Kirk, who is single, has not been back to the Senate since his stroke and is living in his suburban Chicago home with caregivers.

Neither the House or Senate are inclined to remove somebody against their will, even if they are clearly incapacitated.Procedures in the House and Senate for such situations are slightly different, but the bottom line is the same: neither body is inclined to remove somebody against their will, even if they are clearly incapacitated. If Jackson had remained, and been indicted, the past practice is that he could have stayed in office until the case was resolved.

The next Congress, the 113th, takes the oath of office at noon on Jan. 3, though there is precedent for someone taking the oath elsewhere. A famous example is that of Vice President Joe Biden, elected to the Senate from Delaware in 1972 only weeks before his wife and a daughter were killed, and two sons injured, in an auto accident. He was sworn in at the hospital where his sons were being treated.

One-party domination leads to corruption which means that in order to be a part of the ruling order one has to participate. That participation and acquiescence is at all levels of the community. How else does one explain the continued election of those generally acknowledged to be corrupt.

Monica Davey writes in the New York Times article, One-Party Control Opens States to Partisan Rush:

CHICAGO — Come January, more than two-thirds of the states will be under single-party control, raising the prospect that bold partisan agendas — on both ends of the political spectrum — will flourish over the next couple of years.



State Government Control Since 1938

Nov. 6 election maintained divided government in Washington, the picture is starkly different in capitals from California to Florida: one party will hold the governor’s office and majorities in both legislative chambers in at least 37 states, the largest number in 60 years and a significant jump from even two years ago.

24/7 Wall posted the article, America’s Most Corrupt States which reported about corruption:

According to Barrett, states with stagnant political environments often encourage corruption. Governments with high levels of corruption tend to have a political party — either the Democrats or Republicans — in power for a long time. The states that have had a “machine” in place for a long time often tend to be the most corrupt. Machines tend to want to protect themselves.

There are ways to prevent and lessen government corruption.

The Urban Governance Toolkit has formulated The Municipal Checklist:

Box 7:The Municipal Checklist

Municipal Ethical Framework

  1. Is there a code of conduct for senior local government leadership?
  2. Is it used and thought to be effective?
  3. Are the assets and incomes of senior local government leadership disclosed annually to the public through effective means? Public Complaints
  4. Is there an independent complaints office within the local government?
  5. Is it known to the public and to staff?
  6. Is it effective and respected?
  7. Is there retaliation against whistle-blowers or are they protected?
  8. Can anonymous complaints be made?
  9. Is there a programme for testing the integrity of the various local government departments?
  10. Is the programme publicised and is it effective? Municipal Leadership
  11. Is the local government leadership committed to the fight against corruption and how has this been demonstrated in both words and deeds?
  12. Does the public respect the work of the local government? Municipal Human Resources
  13. Is there respect for work rules by all staff, including supervisors?
  14. Is the local government system for recruiting, disciplining, and promoting staff fair?
  15. Are local government pay scales and benefits fair?
  16. Is the internal administrative system for appeals of staff decisions considered fair? Municipal Budgeting
  17. Is the local government budgeting process well publicised and open to the public?
  18. Does the public actively and directly participate in shaping local government budget priorities? Municipal Procurement
  19. Is the local government procurement system reputed to be fair?
  20. Is it based on competitive principles?
  21. Are procurements advertised in advance and made known to the public?
  22. Is the process for selecting a bidder thorough and fair?
  23. Are conflict of interest rules enforced?
  24. Are certain types of procurements excluded from competition?
  25. Does the local government make its investments through a competitive process?
  26. Have there been corruption issues with the procurement system?
  27. Is there a regular audit of procurement actions? Audit Procedures
  28. Are the local government accounts regularly audited by independent auditors?
  29. Is there an internal auditor?
  30. Are the results made public in a timely and effective manner?
  31. Is there a separate local government public accounts committee?
  32. As a result of these audits, are actions taken to rectify systems and practices?

Source: Transparency International

See, The Costs of Political Corruption in America Full Text

Just don’t hold your breath waiting for good government to happen in a one-party system.

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One Response to “Jesse Jackson, Jr.: Why one-party anything leads to corruption”


  1. The Jackson chronicles: It’s not ‘Gangnam Style,’ it’s just a gang « Comments From An Old Fart - November 24, 2012

    […] Jesse Jackson, Jr.: Why one-party anything leads to corruption                                       … […]

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