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Download Ethics in Congress: From Individual to Institutional by Dennis F. Thompson PDF

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By Dennis F. Thompson

The attractiveness of Congress isn't excessive, and an individual who writes approximately its ethics runs the danger of both encouraging the bashers or becoming a member of the apologists. This ebook was once written in a spirit of appreciate for Congress and with an perspective of admiration for many of these who function contributors.

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2 The separation between private and public life is not, of course, quite so sharp as these observations imply. Some kinds of otherwise private immorality may affect an official's capacity to do a job. As citizens we may not care if the chair of the House Administration Committee has an affair, but we may legitimately object if he gives his mistress a job on the committee staff, especially if she says, "I can't type. I can't file. " Even if the member does not misuse the powers of his office, his private life may become so scandalous that it casts doubt on his judgment and un- Page 13 dermines his effectiveness on the job.

14 While acknowledging that no one can be certain about such general estimates, Senator Paul Simon also noted an improvement in the quality of members. He added, "What is certain is that the outright corrupt . . "15 If the character of members is not worse, and indeed may be better, why has the number of ethics cases increased so dramatically? Two causes are probably most significant. First, violations of ethics rules are now more likely to be discovered and investigated. 19 Given these factors, one should expect to see more ethics cases of all kinds, even if corruption were decreasing.

Simone Sandy provided additional assistance at critical points in the project. At Brook- Page xv ings, James Schneider edited the manuscript, Laurel Imig verified its factual accuracy, and Julia Petrakis prepared the index. Judy Chaney and Susan Stewart provided efficient administrative support. At Harvard, Helen Hawkins and Jean McVeigh contributed in many important ways to the project, not the least of which was keeping the rest of my professional life from collapsing into chaos. Page 1 Introduction More members of Congress have been investigated and subjected to sanctions for ethical misconduct in the past decade and a half than in the entire previous history of the institution.

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