Monday, September 15, 2008

LOOKING FOR CORRUPTION?

WHY LOOK AT CORRUPTION IN FLINT MICHIGAN?

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GOOD MORNING FLINT! 9/15/09
By Terry Bankert
http://goodmorningflint.blogspot.com/
Above Longer article , mostly research so you can draw your own conclusions, with citations, short summery below at http://flinttalk.com/viewtopic.php?p=36113#36113
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REFLECTIONS: Per diem abuse may seem like small potatoes, but it offers a way to look at the concept of corruption. Palin makes the news again. Mabey there are things about her experience that can guide us through Flint’s- First just being two faced like her is not political corruption. Political corruption is the use of governmental powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption only if the act is directly related to their official duties. All forms of government are susceptible to political corruption. Forms of corruption vary, but include cronyism, nepotism, patronage, and embezzlement. Tolerance of political corruption allows “rule by thieves”.Corruption undermines democracy.Senator McCain said that he chose Governor Palin to be his running mate because she’s going to change Washington D.C. the same way that she, supposedly, brought change to the governor’s mansion in Alaska. She brought political corruption to the Governors Mansion. She has spent -- or she has collected from the people of Alaska , improperly, nearly $17,000 in per diem , untaxed, in the 19 months that she was been in office, which indicates that she is out of her office more than she’s in her office. Her staff has said she performs most of her work from the Anchorage office near her home and charged the state for sleeping in her own home. If it is corruption compared to the allegations of the mayor and community members in Flint Mi USA,Palins corruption is small potatoes. We must have a whole field.[trb]
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Our Mayor in Flint MI USA has announced he is spending millions of his own money to fight corruption, great. Here I am reflecting what political corruption is and why it is important to stand up against it as a citizen. Per diem abuse may seem like small potatoes, but it offers a way to look at the concept of corruption.[trb] I simply inquired of my friend google about political corruption. You see in Flint we have a mayor who has started a committee to stop corruption in Flint. Ironically there are a few in Flint that argue he is its source. So I though I would inquire what political corruption is then seek examples, Palin makes the news again. Mabey there are things about her experience that can guide us through Flint’s[trb]

YOU ARE NOT POLITICALLY CORRUPT FOR BEING TWO FACED.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin charged taxpayers a per diem for her meals and incidental expenses as governor but was a vocal critic of a similar perk for state legislators.[6]

ONLINE DEFINITION OF POLITICAL CORRUPTION

Political corruption is the use of governmental powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by private persons or corporations not directly involved with the government.[1]

OFFICIAL DUTIES AND ILLEGAL ACT EQUATE POLITICAL CORRUPTION

An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption only if the act is directly related to their official duties.[1] All forms of government are susceptible to political corruption. Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, graft, and embezzlement. While corruption may facilitate criminal enterprise such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and trafficking, it is not restricted to these organized crime activities.[1]

IN SOME LOCALS CORRUPTION IS THE PRICE OF DOING BUSINESS

In some nations, corruption is so common that it is expected when ordinary businesses or citizens interact with government officials. The end point of political corruption is a kleptocracy, literally "rule by thieves".[1]

CORRUPTION UNDERMINES DEMOCRACY

Corruption poses a serious development challenge. In the political realm, it undermines democracy and good governance by flouting or even subverting formal processes. Corruption in elections and in legislative bodies reduces accountability and distorts representation in policymaking; corruption in the judiciary compromises the rule of law; and corruption in public administration results in the unfair provision of services. More generally, corruption erodes the institutional capacity of government as procedures are disregarded, resources are siphoned off, and public offices are bought and sold. At the same time, corruption undermines the legitimacy of government and such democratic values as trust and tolerance.[1]

THE FIRST ARTICLE , WHEN POLITICAL CORRUPTION WAS GOOGLED, INVOLVED ALASKAN GOVERNOR PALIN

Senator McCain said that he chose Governor Palin to be his running mate because she’s going to change Washington D.C. the same way that she, supposedly, brought change to the governor’s mansion in Alaska.

WHAT CHANGES HAS PALIN BROUGHT AND WHAT DO THEY HAVE TO DO WITH CORRUPTION?

There are several examples of how that isn’t, exactly, the case. Her record does not stand up to scrutiny. Governor Palin billed the people of Alaska for 312 nights that she actually spent at home, in her own house, in her own bed.[1]


MISUSE OF EXPENSE ACCOUNTS AS POLITICAL CORRUPTION

These per diems are intended to compensate state employees to cover for travel costs when they are traveling on official state business.[2, comment by proudalaskan]

ALASKA IS A BIG STATE ,IS IT POLITICAL CORRUPTION TO SLEEP AT HOME AND CHARGE THE STATE FOR IT?

Governor Palin got paid to sleep at home. She also got paid to attend the Great Alaska Shootout, which is a Thanksgiving Day basketball tournament, here in Anchorage, that’s very popular. In all, according to the -- the Post, that we’ve seen, she has spent -- or she has collected from the people of Alaska nearly $17,000 in per diem in the 19 months that she was been in office, which indicates that she is out of her office more than she’s in her office.[2, comment by proudalaskan] At issue is the location of the governor's "tax home," which the Internal Revenue Service defines as the location where most of the individual's business is performed. Palin stayed in her Wasilla home 312 nights or 54 percent of the time period when she claimed the per diem, from Dec. 4, 2006, until June 30, 2008. She drove 45 miles to a state office building in Anchorage to conduct business. Her staff has said she performs most of her work from the Anchorage office. [3]

That would appear to make Wasilla the governor's "tax home," which would mean that under IRS regulations, any per diem she received for staying in that home is considered taxable. [3] But Garnero said the state considers Juneau to be the governor's "duty station" or tax home, which would make her eligible for per diem payments for time spent away from that place, even if it were in the governor's Wasilla residence. [3]

The $60-a-day allowance is available for state employees when traveling on official state business to cover meals and other expenses. Her salary is $125,000 a year. [3] Since Gov. Sarah Palin took office nearly two years ago, the state of Alaska has routinely bought commercial airline tickets for her daughters when they travel with her, a practice that raises questions about the governor’s claim to being a fiscal conservative.[7] Travel records from the governor’s office show that the state has spent at least $31,800 on dozens of airline tickets for the family, and more for meals and hotels.[7]

WE FIGHT POLITICAL CORRUPTION BY TRANSPARENCY. RELEASE OF PERSONAL TAX RETURNS IS ONE SUCH TRANSPARENCY

The important question today, I guess, would be -- because Senator Biden released his tax return -- would be for Governor Palin to release her tax returns -- federal tax returns -- to show whether or not she actually paid federal income tax on those reimbursements, for when she was living in her Wasilla home.[2, comment by proudalaskan] I am probably more involved, and pay attention more, to what’s going on in the state than a lot of residents. And I was unaware that she was not in Juneau, doing her job, as much as -- as this report seems to indicate. When she said -- made the announcement that she wasn’t going to stay in the mansion in Juneau, and she was going to -- because she “didn’t need this fancy house,” and she “didn’t need the cook,” and she “didn’t need the housekeeper,” and her home was in Wasilla, so she was only going to be in Juneau when she had to be in Juneau -- that rang pretty true to everybody.[2, comment by proudalaskan] Another background point involves the state capital, Juneau, which cannot be reached by road. Imagine trying to reach Hartford without using a road or bridge.

Those heading for Juneau by boat must deal with the ferocious Gulf of Alaska or the cloudy ferry trip along the Inland Passage. Those who fly must thread the needle between ice-covered mountains, bank hard above a fjord (usually in foggy drizzle), and land at sea level in a place where the tide averages over 15 feet. Juneau is a nice city to live in and to disembark at on a cruise, but it's a great challenge for business, coming and going.[4] We thought, “Well, that’s really great. You know, here’s this person who’s not, you know, feeling like she gets to -- to live in the castle on the hill. And she was going to be staying at her home in Wasilla,” and, “How noble is that?”[2, comment by proudalaskan]

STAYING AT HOME GREAT POLICY EXECUTED IN A SELF SERVING MANNER

But if she is billing the state to stay at her home in Wasilla, that’s pretty shocking to me, as a resident of the State of Alaska. So I think that this is -- it just raises one problem with the transparency and dishonest government that we have seen in Washington, D.C. And I don’t’ think it’s indicative of her bringing any kind of change to that.[2, comment by proudalaskan]

MIS USE OF PER DIEM THAN IS A LEGITIMATE EXAMPLE OF POLITICAL
CORRUPTION.

The practice of billing for staying at home seems to be unusual. Many officials said it would not be allowed in their states, including California, Pennsylvania and South Carolina, as well as other jurisdictions. On the federal level, officials said members of Congress do not get per diem allowances for routine home visits.[8]

POLITICAL CORRUPTION THEN COULD BE PALINS MIS USE OF PER DIEMS. A SECOND PROBLEM MAY BE NOT CLAIMING THE PER DIEMS ON HER INCOME TAXES

The misuse of per diems pales beside other acts of political corruption. But it’s a start. If this label applies to her where else should the label be applied in Flint MI USA? How to we stop corruption. Demand transparency and accountablity in the actions of the Leaders of Flint MI USA. Defend democracy by doing so.[trb]

Posted here by Terry Bankert 9/15/08
http://attorneybankert.com/
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[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_corruption
[2] http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/letters/stories/satletters3_0913edi.6e18b549.html [3] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/12/AR2008091203132.html?hpid=topnews
[4] http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/editorials/hc-thorson0911.artsep11,0,1586992.column
[5] http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/09/10/palin_questioned_legislators_p.html
[6] http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/09/10/palin_questioned_legislators_p.html
[7] http://news.bostonherald.com/news/2008/view.bg?articleid=1118181&srvc=2008campaign&position=10
[8] http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/10/us/politics/10billing.html?em

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