Treasury Department officials have been cited for soliciting prostitutes, breaking conflict-of-interest rules and accepting gifts from corporate executives, according to the findings of official government investigations.
The revelations of unethical behavior at Treasury are detailed in little-noticed documents posted this month on governmentattic.org, which publishes agency responses to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
Now, let me scupper one objection, right off the bat (mixing metaphors? How... outre): I am certainly confident that if somebody looked then they could find incidents during the Bush administration* that are comparable to the ones found in the Hill report. Soliciting prostitutes via Craigslist? Letting bankers wine, dine, and pay golf greens fees for on-the-clock government employees? Using one's badge and status to get out of a drunk-and-disorderly? Sure, all that stuff didn't magically start happening on January 20th, 2009.
But what did happen on January 20, 2009 was that a new administration came in - one that explicitly ran and won on a promise that business as usual would no longer happen as usual. Hope and Change, remember? ...So consider this to be a helpful reminder that if your ego writes checks that your inherent political abilities can't cash, don't write the check. If you can't live by a set of rules, don't make your campaign's centerpiece a call for everybody else to live by those rules. And do not act if the central animating principle of your operational philosophy is It's different when I do it.
Put another way: this culture hates hypocrisy - and maybe we shouldn't, quite so much. But until we stop doing that then at least let's embrace the concept completely. Even if it does mean raking a Democrat over the coals.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*And every administration before that, but Obama barely recognizes that history didn't actually start with Bush v. Gore.