shades of corruption

The latest salvo Rep. Davis fired in his tireless fight on our behalf was at a politician, corrupt and mentally infirm, who is continuing to abuse the state resources in legal but morally reprehensible ways. Rodney Davis wants to stop this politician.

“It’s unfortunate when anyone games the system, but it’s especially disappointing when it’s done by a public official who swore to defend the Constitution and faithfully execute the office he or she holds,”

Davis told1 to Chicago Sun-Times.

To this end, Rodney – what else? – filed a bill, the Protecting Taxpayers from Corruption Act.

The bill targets primarily one person, but perhaps not the one you might have guessed2 – the former US Representative Jesse Jackson Jr., as Mr. Davis himself told the Sun-Times.

Triggered by the discovery that Mr. Jackson receives workers compensation for his years in the Congress, Mr. Davis, so the story goes, decided that the corruption, embodied, one assumes, by Mr. Jackson, should be confronted. Hence the legislation.

Mr. Davis’ Act, however, does nothing to protect us from corruption. It only adds punishment to already convicted politicians. It is an extra bit of vengeance, kicking the fallen, something even Nietzsche would be puzzled by. Besides punishing the already condemned, this bill seems to serve little purpose. Knowing that besides being disgraced and put in jail, your benefits will be also jeopardized, – would this be a powerful additional deterrent for a Congressman to do something illegal? We know that Rodney Davis’ world is full of bizarre notions, but this seems to be a stretch even for him to believe.

One could easily dismiss this Act as a yet another instance of legislative grandstanding or legislative trolling (or, perhaps, some not-so-subtle appeal to the more racist elements of his electorate), if not for the very real problem of very real corruption flourishing in full view in the current administration. Forget the Russian probe – with all the exposure of criminal susceptibility of the highest office to external influence.  If not for it, the front pages would be filled with the accounts of the revolting spectacle of unchecked corruption in the highest office. Trump personally steers, weekend after weekend, government business to properties he owns; his son-in-law – and an official in the White House – is benefiting from a visas-for-money scheme; Trump’s son is seeking openly foreign investments – or bribes – in the Middle East. The list is long and growing.

Very few judicial checks on the President of the US are available. These checks are assumed to be done by the legislative branch – particularly, and especially by the House of Representatives. Yet the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee is openly sabotaging the any calls to reign in on executive corruption (and plans to resign to join, as the rumors have it, a pro-Trump news organization), and the members of the House Republican majority, like Rodney Davis, are resorting to pathetic charades like the Protecting Taxpayers from Corruption Act, instead of addressing the issue.

Fighting corruption for real means to fight it as it happens, not when the courts have already had their say. What Davis proposes is a toothless and cowardly measure.3 He is not fighting corruption, he is kicking those who have been caught and tried.

It is not just a lazy job, this Act of Rodney’s. Fake fights, such as this distract voters, divert resources, and by and large enable truly corrupt office holders. While not obstructing justice by the letter of the law, Rodney Davis does it in spirit.

Let’s not forget it when we sum up his soon to end tenure in the Congress.

1. Sure it is, Rodney, and we know a guy or two around who do exactly that – gaming the system adhering to the office hours and paperwork regulations, but failing to adhere to the spirit of what it means to be our Representative, that is to engage in a public discussion of our concerns. But we deviate…

2. You didn’t really think it’s about Rodney’s persident, did you? No, of course not: a Party soldier to boot, he would never utter something not sanctioned by his boss, Speaker Ryan, who is by now tied himself to Trump as his only hope to push through the Congress the trillion dollars of tax breaks for the rich.

3. Being toothless is a feature, not a bug of the measure: when I called Davis’ office in DC, the staffer repeated several times clearly rehearsed line, that they aim at those “condemned by the court” (obviously, they were aware of the strange optics of not going after Trump).


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