Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wrong Is Wrong.

Even when it's (marginally) "my" side. Now, I have always said that I'm not really a Republican; it's that I hate both the Democrats and the Republicans, I just hate the Republicans a little less, but still. Right is right and wrong is wrong, and the political affiliation of the person at the center of the issues should have nothing to do with it. This is wrong.

Va. governor apologizes, repays loans to donor
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Gov. Bob McDonnell said Tuesday he has repaid a major political donor more than $120,000 in loans to the governor's wife and a business McDonnell owns with his sister.
McDonnell's relationship and thousands of dollars in gifts he and his family received from the donor, Jonnie Williams, are at the center of state and federal investigations. No charges have been filed and the Republican governor has said he did nothing illegal.
I'm certain that there were *technically* no laws broken, but SERIOUSLY? You took loans totaling over six figures from a campaign donor, and don't see anything wrong with that? While in the most technical sense - I guess because they were "loans" and were eventually (read: after they were discovered) paid back - they didn't *give* you anything, it certainly gives the appearance of impropriety.

Even better, it appears that the Republican candidate to replace McDonnell has *also* benefitted from a relationship with this same company. Great. Now, they're a manufacturer of "nutritional supplements", and as such aren't *technically* "Big Pharma", but still. Way to reinforce the image that the GOP are bought and paid for by Big Business, guys.

And this thinking is infuriating. "I did nothing illegal". While that may be true, the fact that you had to hire a freakin' legal team tells me you're splitting hairs so finely you're approaching fission here. Here's a friendly tip: If you have to hire a legal team to decide that nothing you did was technically illegal, think about how that looks to Joe SixPack in your state. While you may have stayed on the right side of the law, it certainly looks bad - and in today's world, perception is just as important (if not more so) than reality.

You know, I think I'd rather read about Weiner flashing his weiner than questionable loans from donors...

That is all.


Dave H said...

Somewhere along the way people got the impression that the standard for behavior was whether it was legal or not. That is the bare minimum. That's like relying on your smoke alarm to tell you when dinner is ready.

Matt W said...

Like us CPAs say: Independent in fact and independent in APPEARANCE. Go above an beyond to ensure there isn't even an appearance of impropriety.

Glenn B said...

I think that the governor sees plenty wrong with it otherwise he would not have given the money back and paid off the interest. One has to wonder though, where did he suddenly find the money to repay the debt.

Anonymous said...

My daddy always taught me to "avoid even the appearance of evil".

That said, these kinds of deals happen all the time in business, not just politics.

When you can use someone elses money for cheaper than your own, it only makes business sense to do so. (Apple just borrowed BILLIONS, while sitting on cash reserves that make the loan seem insignificant).

Legal doesn't equal moral, though politicians all to often don't even recognize legal, much less moral!

Ed said...

My father always reminded us "It ain't what you did, it is what it looked like you did that got you into trouble."

ScribblersDad said...

There was an op-ed piece in one of the DC papers a million years ago (well, OK, 1977) titled "Bert Lance as Caesar's Wife." The point was that people in a position of public trust have an obligation to behave BETTER than the rest of us, to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Far cry from "Technocally it wasn't illegal."
Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Fed Gov is becoming more and more powerful. QED.