Culture of Corruption

By Jeff Semon: Candidate for U.S. Congress MA 7th – Please visit www.jeffin2012.com for more information

When a bank, venture capitalist or financial institution loans money to a company, they do so under the premise of an anticipated return on their investment. Investors rarely pass up an opportunity to make money. Investors do their due diligence to make sure the opportunity is sound and, if it is, they invest.

If it is not, they don’t.

This means that when no one has confidence in a project, the project does not get off the ground. Under normal circumstances, this would be the end of the story. However, with Solyndra Solar, the story is just beginning.

Most Americans, regardless of political affiliation, agree that crony capitalism and corruption have no place within our government. Unfortunately, when we re-elect career politicians – most of whom have little or no business experience and are utterly clueless about what works “in the real world”–we are left with “representatives” who do nothing but pander to political allies and high end donors.

The government should not be investing in businesses…period. Government can be a good customer for business. Conflicts of interest may still arise because of it, but this pales by comparison to the culture of corruption bred from direct government “investment” in individual companies.

We’ve been hearing for years that “green energy is the future.” If this were true, companies would not need any help from the government. They would be developing viable green technologies and business would be flourishing. For green technology to be practical, it must be cost-effective and sustainable without government assistance. As much as we wish this was happening, it is not occurring on a wide scale.

One of the most vocal leaders of the environmental movement in recent years has been Ed Markey. Mr. Markey has been our Congressman from Massachusetts’ 7th district since 1976, the year I was born. He sits on both the Natural Resources and Energy & Commerce committees. On the floor of the House, Rep. Markey regularly rails against oil and nuclear power while doing his utmost to promote renewable energy by parroting radical environmentalist dogma.

Unfortunately Ed’s words on Capitol Hill don’t exactly match his actions in the real world. Since 2004 he has accepted campaign contributions totaling over $370,000 from the energy and natural resources sector (including nuclear and fossil fuels). Most of that money was raised during the last election cycle.

In addition to the energy sector, Rep. Markey also repeatedly attempts to regulate the telecommunications industry. Since 2008 Ed Markey has accepted $698,000 from the Communications/Electronics sector.

Accepting over $1 million in campaign contributions from the very companies he is actively attempting to regulate is emblematic of why Washington is broken. There is a significant conflict of interest taking place with this practice.

We cannot become so desensitized to such low political standards that this behavior is tolerable. Recently, Rep. Markey embraced the culture of corruption by trying to block a subpoena accessing records in the Solyndra scandal. Political alliances or ideological rhetoric notwithstanding, no elected official should ever thwart efforts to bring information on a scandal like this to light.

Markey’s reasoning behind this action was a claim that the Obama Administration has been extremely forthcoming in providing information to the public and Congress. That assertion is simply untrue.

Our elected representatives should be held to a higher standard. Whether it is Anthony Weiner lying to the American public and refusing to step down after a Twitter sex scandal or, in this case, Ed Markey accepting campaign contributions from industries he is actively trying to regulate and attempting to impede an investigation into Solyndra Solar.

This issue transcends party affiliation. All Americans can agree that our ethical and moral standards should not be compromised to such an extent that this type of behavior is even remotely acceptable. While as Republicans and Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals, we often disagree on the issues of the day, every one of us should expect our politicians to strive for high ethical standards…even if sometimes they fall woefully short.

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