Scams by the Elite Are Still a Scam
A sensitive but timely topic in the media is about those in important and powerful positions who abuse their status and role, and intentionally or not, violate the moral and civil codes of ethics, and yet expect to be exonerated because of who they are and what they do. Take a look at “Rash of Scandals Tests Democrats at Sensitive Time” to get the details on the dirt.
The above is premised on a recent New York byline regarding the NYS Governor, among other politicians, who finds himself embroiled in an alleged conspiracy to dissipate supposed criminal acts committed by one of his staff. The case of a top aide to the Governor, accused of domestic violence against his partner, and the Governor’s alleged role in attempting to influence and quite possibly intimidate the accuser. (See Times “Paterson’s Ethics Breach Is Turned Over to Prosecutors” for the details on this. )
Stories, some in fact, hold that the Governor requested members of his staff to approach the accuser and advise her to drop the charges, in order, one would believe, to obviate and/or protect his aide from criminal charges. One can assume that the Governor feels a certain sense of loyalty to his staff. He might even believe the charges to be unfounded. Even if all this were true, why would he knowingly impede a legal process using his position of authority and influence? Could it be that he believes himself to be above or beyond the common law? More importantly, and irrespective of the legal and right thing to do, did he forget what happened to his predecessor when then Governor Spitzer knowingly and willingly committed a federal crime? Thus, I would opine, is the present state of our ethical standards.
It takes me back to last week’s article on clueless CEOs. Maybe they are not as clueless as we are led to believe. As one CEO stated, the core values ought to be honesty, integrity as well as job security. Possibly, given their financial power, they believe themselves to be exempt from the first two but not the third. Heaven forbid they are vilified for their wrongful acts. Ironically, they take this as a personal affront. (Case in point, former presidential candidate John Edwards). The belief that because they hold positions of power, and can (and do) financially affect large-scale (even global) outcomes (not all good), gives them carte blanche or a free pass to commit illegal acts, is not only wrongly premised, it is legally incorrect. A strong statement yes, but not a wrong or misguided one, I would argue.
Admittedly, even with media information, we may never know the entire truth to any of these acts, but one aspect of this process is very clear, there was, even if at a small scale, an abuse of power. I would further premise it is based on arrogance and not lack of knowledge. For no fully informed individual would or ought to believe otherwise.
Our laws provide that one is innocent until proven guilty. However, this does not imply and for that matter, state, that you can willingly, knowingly and intentionally ignore such laws to benefit yourself or those close to you. Even when the facts and documents support the fact those wrongful acts have been committed, these individuals still insist on ignoring the law, and worst yet, be excused from proper legal repercussions or just compensation.
A company’s corporate social responsibility plan as well as its mission statement holds (or ought to) not only its employees but its officers and senior executives to a strong and valid standard of fairness, obedience to and regulation of the laws as it relates to the business and related activities. Politicians are elected with, not only the implied but stated obligation, to enact as well as represent the laws of the land, ethically and morally.
Whatever the causes, one important solution is that we, as the general public, need to hold accountable those in important and far-reaching positions for their intended misdeeds. I would further argue that such holders of power and influence ought to be held to an even higher standard, for their acts (good or bad) have long and widespread repercussions, not unlike the financial and unemployment difficulties, we are presently faced with. Most importantly, we must re-align the moral and ethical compass, which has been pointing in the wrong direction for some time. Moreover, apply it across the board (pun intended) and at all levels, equally and fairly.