Friday, August 19, 2005

A Cool Cart, Spiked Shoes and Influence Peddling

Hours after Ohio Governor Bob Taft was fined nearly $4,000 for failing to report gifts, including golf outings, The Washington Post reported that "public advocacy group Common Cause/Maryland called on Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) last night to release a list of his golf partners."

Although the organization acknowledges that, because Ehrlich pays his own golfing fees, the Governor is not violating any law, Common Cause Executive Director James Browning maintains that citizens have a right to know who has such extensive access to Maryland's top public official.

This is a case of balancing the privacy of a policy-maker with the right-to-know of a citizenry. If Ehrlich is spending his golf outings making deals and being influenced, he has an obligation to, at the very least, inform the public and, most appropriately, to end such affairs. On the other hand, if Ehrlich is just enjoying himself with some buddies, the names and professions of said buddies are really none of our business.

Common Cause is right to demand relevant information, but its request shouldn't be so particular. The organization should instead inquire as to the nature of the golf outings: are politics or policy discussed? It is, unfortunately, up to the Governor to be honest with his constituents and fellow citizens.

In addition, Common Cause should expand the scope of its concern beyond the Governor and ask all elected officials, including Democrats such as House Speaker Michael Busch and Senate President Mike Miller, for similar information.

from The League: Reassembled


Blogger brian said...

I've got a place just like that vw performance

10/23/2005 10:50:00 AM  

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