A Philosopher's Blog

Change? Well, the More Things Change…

Posted in Business, Ethics, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on September 26, 2009

Back in 2008, Antoin Rezko was convicted of corruption. This was a problem for Obama because Rezko had served him quite ably as a fund raiser. Folks might also recall Norman Hsu. He was also a major money source for Democrats and was convicted back in May for campaign finance fraud.  He also admitted to running a Ponzi scheme.

Last month another major fundraiser for Obama and other Democrats, Hassan Nemazee, also ran into some trouble over his financial adventures.

Nemazee was arrested in August on charges of bank fraud based on the allegation that he used phony documents to get up to $74 million in loans from Citigroup, Inc. Nemazee has clearly done quite well for himself-he was released on a bond guaranteed by his $20 million residence in Manhattan and his lesser home in Katonah, NY which is worth a mere $8 million.

It can, of course, be said that the  intensely money driven and corrupt political system invites such occurrences. After all, since running a major campaign requires vast sums of money, politicians are probably quite happy to accept funds without looking to closely at the source. Naturally, thinkers and moralists have been pointing out that money is a corrupting element so it is hardly a shock that folks with large sums of money often turn out to be less than honest. Also, given the view that politicians are corrupt and shady, it is not shocking to see them rubbing elbows with other shady and corrupt folks.

It might also be claimed that the politicians do not know about the misdeeds of these folks. On one hand, this seems likely. After all, a smart politician is going to steer away from someone who could cause them serious problems and hence would not knowingly become involved with someone doing illegal things. On the other hand, politician often do illegal things themselves and do knowingly associate with such folks.

In the case of Nemazee, he was one of the top fundraisers for the Democrats. He donated to Clinton and then to Obama. He also was involved in John Kerry’s failed bid for President. Prior to the disclosure of his misdeeds, the Democrats seemed to have only nice things to say about him. Now, they seem to be only saying “no comment.”

Interestingly, the mainstream media also seems to have taken a “no comment” approach so far-for which Jon Stewart has taken them to task. This sort of corruption is of significant importance. After all, Obama spoke about changing how things would work in politics, yet it seems that the same old game is still being played.

This incident and others like it show a clear need for politicians to do their homework when it comes to their fundraisers and sources of money. It also shows a need for greater attention to be paid to the money trails leading into politics.

I also believe that there needs to be a proper investigation of the folks who receive money from such corrupt fundraisers.  The fact that they are corrupt and willing to break the law suggests that they might well be up to other misdeeds. Perhaps they got something in return for the money. That is, of course, something that must be considered and investigated.

I would like to say that I am shocked by this revelation. However, I am inclined to think that a politician is green on the inside whether they are red or blue on the outside.