In theory, thereâ€™s supposed to be a difference between politics and governance. But in actual practice, thereâ€™s rarely much difference at all.
Take Democratic House Majority Leader Rep. Bill DeWeese. Of the several scandals he found himself embroiled in throughout 2007, the biggest was â€œBonusgate,â€ in which employees of the state of Pennsylvania got big bonus payments for their time working on political campaigns.
Eighty of the 100 Democratic House staffers who were awarded big state bonuses in 2006 either donated money to or worked on the campaigns of eternal candidate DeWeese or his right-hand man, former Rep. Mike Veon.
After the November 2006 election Veon found himself in the private sector. Lucky, in a way, since only after that did the $1.9 million tab for all these election-year bonuses see light.
Representative DeWeese is in a worse pickle, since heâ€™s still in office, and nearly everyone else in his office is pretty clearly guilty. He says that he was â€œmisledâ€ by his staff, and fired seven aides including his chief of staff.
Emails between top Democratic aides and Pennsylvania state house staffers reveal an interesting rating system. Aides received grades as â€œOK,â€ â€œgood,â€ and â€œrock starsâ€ for their work. For their work on political campaigns, that is.
Prohibitions on politicking by government workers are age-old. But sometimes those in power who make the laws, donâ€™t follow them too well.
This is Common Sense. Iâ€™m Paul Jacob.