Home Editorials Politicians going unchecked and unpunished

Politicians going unchecked and unpunished

by William T. Robinson, Jr
William T. Robinson, Jr.

We were taught as young children that if you broke the law there would be strict consequences, even with the possibility of going to jail or prison. That was ions ago because now high profile lawmakers are behaving scandalously by snubbing the laws that would have regular hardworking Americans locked up. I guess it goes without saying that some politicians have a ‘get out of jail free card.’

The fraud, cheating, and lying being displayed by some politicians are unbelievable—also, the way they are turning their heads away from the law. Some are refusing to show up in court when subpoenaed, but if they do they spontaneously take the fifth amendment when they know they are guilty. When all is said and done, they get a slap on the wrist if anything at all. Good grief!

We have citizens serving time in jail or prison on lesser charges than some of these politicians. It is a shame and an insult to the citizens of this country when the people they elected to represent them feel free to make a mockery of the laws and policies of the country they were sworn to protect and defend.

There exists a clandestine immunity known and practiced among some of these politicians, since they seem to be above the law. How else can you explain the hesitancy of high branches and agencies within our government to even bring up charges against these politicians? Even when charged with malfeasance, corruption, fraud, lying, and other improprieties, these politicians are often only met with a slap on the wrist. If there are ethnical investigating committees within our government, they may raise attention to acts of improprieties; however, penalties are rarely enforced deterring such behavior from other politicians.

The truth is that these ethical investigating committees can only act in an advisory role on their findings and have no legal power to demand punishment. While these committees can find there is sufficient evidence to prove misconduct by politicians, their findings are often ignored or not accepted—thus negating further action. Many would argue the investigating committees have no teeth and often seem to be ignored in the end.

The media is good at bringing attention to the inappropriate actions of these questionable politicians. But all too often nothing seems to come of it. After a while, it’s back to business as usual. In some cases, a politician with allegations of sexual improprieties may be forced to step down or not seek re-election. However, there are some who refuse to step down in spite of numerous allegations and immense public coverage.

It only makes sense that when a politician is investigated and found guilty of fraud, sexual misconduct, blatantly lying, or overt racism they should automatically be made to step down. It shouldn’t be an option. Political parties should not choose who stays and who goes.

You have some politicians refusing to vacate their offices after irrefutable evidence of misconduct which would warrant any other American outside of Congress to be immediately fired or prosecuted. We all know some of the cases where top congressional lawmakers have used taxpayers money to pay off their cases of sexual misconduct.

Other well known politicians were literally forced to step down; however, some have snubbed their noses at allegations of misconduct, especially malfeasance, and are still serving in office. One can only wonder how a lawmaker can lie about everything on his resume and personal history and still retain public office, refusing to resign.

I am not going to try to understand the ‘pick and choose’ mentality allowing such disparity in who stays and who goes. But there should be a set standards that apply to all politicians, regardless of political party affiliation. Ethics committees serve no purpose when their rules have no teeth to regulate and follow through with strict penalties or expulsion. Surely, we as a country, can do better.  We should expect our politicians to adhere to the same standards and accountability the public is expected to uphold. Politicians are elected to serve the public, but they should not be above the law. We should hold elected officials to the same standards and laws as the American public. 

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