I woke up this morning with something on my mind…and that is usually when I have something to write on this blog. Today I would like to discuss what an ethics waiver is. After maintaining that his administration would have the highest ethical standards, the president has given this “ethics waiver” to many of his cabinet members and other aides in his administration.
Valerie Jarrett got one in May. http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/05/white-house-gra.html
Waiver states: After consultation with the Counsel to the President, I hereby waive the requirements of paragraph 2 of the Ethics Pledge of Ms. Valerie Jarrett with respect to her former relationship with Chicago 2016. I have determined that it is in the public interest to grant the waiver because Ms. Jarrett’s knowledge and expertise on the United States’ sole Olympic bid for 2016 make her an ideal person to lead Administration efforts in support of this bid. I understand that Ms. Jarrett will otherwise comply with the remainder of the pledge and with all preexisting government ethics rules.”
Editor: The public’s interest was at stake to get the Olympics to Chicago? Hmmm…I think Chicago’s interests were at stake and not the U.S. public and I pretty sure the American “public” would agree with me.
On September 10 more waivers were granted.
White House counsel Norm Eisen wrote, “because there was a compelling public interest in allowing it.”
You can read more here at this blog post at http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2009/sep/obama-issues-10-more-ethics-waivers
Just what are ethics? My Webster’s dictionary defines them as the rules or standards of conduct governing the members of a profession, the principles of right and good behavior, a system of moral principles or values. So from this, I deduce that ethics are good. The term ethics waiver seems to be a conundrum in and of itself.
If ethics are the principles of right and good behavior or the rules and standards of conduct governing the member of a profession, then an ethics waiver no longer requires that right and good behavior, correct? This just smacks me too much like giving someone…oh, let’s say…a stealing waiver. Stealing is wrong conduct…except…what was it he said…unless “there is a compelling public interest in allowing it”. (Higher taxation comes to mind and plenty of politicians will make the case for it.) What about a “murder waiver”, if it’s in the public interest, i.e…so and so should die, so that so and so can live. Ethics waivers sound too much like the slippery slope we call moral relativism. And that means there really are no standards if they can be “waived” because there is a compelling public interest or some other such nonsense decided by the political party in power at the moment.
In my world, taking something that is not yours is always wrong behavior, no matter what the reason and murder is always wrong behavior, no matter what the reason. I grant you that there is always compassion for the person in the case of great need or accidents. But the act itself must always be judged by society as a bad one…the standard needs to be kept so that society can depend on it and always know what is expected of them. Ethics waivers are for those who don’t believe in or want true standards of morality. It reminds me of another new saying we have today in 2009…”Too big to fail”. Will that become our norm too? And look where THAT’s getting us.