Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Two Washington bigwigs forgot to put their brain in gear before engaging  their mouths.  Is there anyone left in government or politics with any sense of ethics or integrity?  One severely ethically challenged former public official is likely to be the next Pres. of the U.S.

Case number #1

“Housing Secretary Julian Castro violated the federal Hatch Act restricting partisan political activity by federal employees when he praised Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during an interview conducted from his government office, government investigators found Monday.

Castro is among several potential vice-presidential choices for Clinton, who will formally claim the Democratic presidential nomination next week. The telegenic young Cabinet secretary has been mentioned for months as a prospect to be Clinton’s running mate. He was among the first candidates to go through the formal process of vetting by the campaign.

A report from the Office of Special Counsel delivered a mild rebuke to Castro for his handling of the April interview with Yahoo News. The seal of the Housing and Urban Development department was visible behind Castro as he answered questions from host Katie Couric about his support for Clinton, including his chances as running mate. (He said he did not think he would be chosen.)

“In the end, the American people understand that she has a positive vision for the country that includes opportunity for everybody, and she can actually get it done,” Castro said at one point during the interview. He also criticized Republicans.

The report found that Castro did not separate his role as HUD secretary well enough from his role as a Clinton supporter and referred the findings to President Obama. There was no immediate word on whether Obama planned to act on the findings."

Castro has apologized, but this is not enough. If Obama has any integrity, he will fire Castro.  Don’t hold your breath.

Case #2

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg publicly criticized Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump.  This caused an uproar among many on both the left and right who felt it was unethical.  Unfortunately the provision in the federal Judicial Code of Ethics that prohibits such conduct does not apply to the Supreme Court.   Ginsburg subsequently apologized, but  Congress needs to fix this.



With Ginsburg apology, Congress should look at the real problem

They also have been accused of expressing political opinions. Alito was legitimately criticized in 2010 for expressing his disagreement with statements that President Obama made in a State of the Union address. Alito's shaking of his head and mouthing "not true" was viewed by many as highly inappropriate and a violation of the long-standing tradition of justices attending addresses. Former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor shocked many when she reportedly exclaimed, "This is terrible" when CBS called Florida for Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election. She later voted to effectively give the state (and the election) to George W. Bush in Bush v. Gore. Yet Alito was responding to a criticism of the Supreme Court for its decision in Citizens United and O'Connor's comment came in a private dinner party.

Jonathan Turley is a law professor at George Washington University, where he teaches a course on the Constitution and the Supreme Court.

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