Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The unintended consequences of reform

In all the posting done about Governor Palin's resignation, few have noted the irony that she was a victim of her own ethics reform measure. A post from HotAir makes the point better than I could:
A legal device like Alaska’s drive-thru ethical complaint system will always do more damage in the hands of political operations, than good in the hands of well-meaning individual citizens. Organized groups with agendas to push have abundant time, energy, and discipline to exploit such mechanisms. If the Alaskan system was adopted in the fabulously corrupt political climate of Chicago, the likely result would be the elimination of the last few reasonably honest politicians, who would be buried under a flood of bogus ethics complaints mass-produced at the local union halls. The lovely dream of the lone citizen crusader, using his lunch hour to file a complaint against an untouchable crook in high office, fades into the ugly reality of groups like ACORN, issuing target lists to their foot soldiers.

Sarah Palin supported the ethics reforms that were used to mummify her in legal paperwork. John McCain was hamstrung by the elaborate campaign finance laws he helped design, even as his opponent cheerfully ignored them, disabling minimal security from his campaign donation website to accommodate a flood of shadowy cash.

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