A clean mind and dirty hands

By AL DIAMON  |  February 10, 2010

Under this plan, candidates will be eligible for reduced state funding — sort of like the cash the grifter withdrew from his own account. But if privately funded opponents spend more than the amount of that initial public handout, the situation gets morally murky. That's because the "Clean" candidates will then be allowed to solicit and accept private donations, just like their "Dirty" opponents do. And just like fast-talking operators who convince bankers to invest their profits from questionable derivatives in enterprises of even more dubious legality.

This verdict seems to be neither "Clean" nor clear. If taxpayer-funded candidates are allowed to mix public and private donations in their campaign treasuries, then who can claim the moral high ground? Soccer moms who pay their own way through their virtues and vices? Criminals who risk their limited means as seed money to dupe the unwary and/or greedy out of their retirement funds? Meth addicts?

It doesn't seem to have occurred to anybody at the ethics commission that if private money is inherently corrupting (and if it isn't, why have a Clean Election Fund in the first place?), then it doesn't matter if a candidate accepts a little or a lot. There can't be such a thing as "Half-Clean."

If the public trough doesn't have enough in it to slop all the hogs this year, wouldn't it be better to let them forage in the garbage than to waste available resources to no ethical purpose?

That sort of moral dilemma calls for some deep meditation on the meaning of right and wrong, like they do in some of those mystical religions.

Pilates, I think.

Feel the burn? Send your hot words my way at aldiamon@herniahill.net.

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