France to Force all Government Ministers to Reveal all Personal Assets
April 15, 2013 - 10:16 am
From The Telegraph:
In a country whose attitude to wealth is deeply ambivalent, the move has sparked a political row over whether it is a bold move towards greater transparency and accountability or a populist, counterproductive act of voyeurism.
The government hopes the measure will help turn the page on a hugely damaging scandal over tax fraud charges meted against former-budget minister Jerome Cahuzac, the man tasked with fighting tax evasion, after he admitted having a secret Swiss bank account.
My first thought was, you just knew this had to be an article from The Telegraph because it opened with a dig at French ethics. I’ll add my own and mention that “French ethics” is probably an oxymoron.
My second thought was that this new rule both goes too far — and doesn’t go far enough. I don’t need, or even have any prurient want to know, exactly how many Picassos Nancy Pelosi has stashed in her golden San Francisco underground treasure halls. You know, the one with the Hope Diamond knocker on the platinum gates.
But we do know that an awful lot of politicians go to Washington with only modest means, and come out multimillionaires. I’m looking at you, Harry Reid — even though it makes my contact lenses shrivel. And let’s not forget that there are probably privacy penumbras emanating all over DC, which just absolutely require that our betters keep all the details to themselves.
So instead I’d like to propose a different solution than the one France just embraced, and I can sum it up with a single sentence:
Enter Washington, and your assets enter a blind trust.
All of them? All of them. Oh, maybe exclude a primary residence, so long as it isn’t worth 50% more than the median home price of the district or state they represent. But anything more than a simple passbook savings account goes into a blind trust for the duration of their public service — plus an extra quarter for each year served.
Failure to disclose would result in expulsion from office.
It should probably be applied to bureaucrats at or above the rank of GS/GM-15, too.
The hallowed halls of Congress have become a horrible insider trading center, with the people writing the laws practically sexting their stockbrokers as they were writing the laws. And that was before Congress just niftily voted to relax the rules even further. Wouldn’t you just love to see Pelosi’s shorts — short trades, that is — in the weeks leading up to the passage of ObamaCare? I bet it would be no wonder that she so ruthlessly twisted so many arms to get the thing passed.
There are makers and takers and breakers. For too long, the Insider Party running Washington has acted as all three — they make the laws to break our backs so they can take what they want.
If lawmakers want to control the public purse, they should lose control of their own.