December 10, 2023 at 11:37 pm #207Jonathan BuhacoffKeymaster
Enact a law to prohibit influence peddling by elected and appointed officials and government employees, and by anyone having or claiming to have a relationship with an elected or appointed official or government employee.
A prohibition on influence peddling creates a barrier to corruption and helps keep the government more transparent by forcing the national discourse to be public where everyone can see the evidence, hear the arguments, and be aware of any compromises or “deals” that are made.
The act of offering private access to an official in exchange for money or any other tangible or intangible good would be illegal.
Influence peddling is a way that a public official can abuse their office for private gain.
Influence peddling is merely bribery or lobbying initiated by the public official or someone close to the public official. It’s the same corrupt activity, with the only difference being which side initiates the conversation.
The prohibition on influence peddling must apply to all elected and appointed officials and government employees, and must apply to all dealings, both foreign and domestic. The prohibition must also extend to anyone having or claiming to have a relationship with elected or appointed officials or government employees.
For example, an official trying to sell favors would be guilty of influence peddling. If the official’s child, spouse, secretary, business associate, or even someone the official doesn’t even know attempts to sell favors, those people would be guilty of influence peddling but not the official. It should not be presumed that the official knows or is able to control whether people around them engage in influence peddling. There would have to be persuasive evidence that the official was both aware and complicit or cooperative with it in order to find the official guilty — in the same way that a store’s clerk would not be presumed guilty for a robbery, but if there is evidence the clerk cooperated with the robbers in advance (not counting any cooperation under duress) then the clerk may be found guilty. However, unlike a store clerk, if an official is complicit in or cooperative with influence peddling, even under duress, that official is guilty. Elected officials must be held to a high standard. They have a duty to protect the country even if there is a personal price. They must not cave to threats. If an official cannot uphold their oath they must resign. If we don’t hold officials to a high standard, the government will become more and more corrupt over time.
Bribery is already illegal in many places around the world. Influence peddling must also be illegal.
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