No rational person supports government corruption or unethical political influence peddling.
But editorial writers, columnists, and a federal prosecutor who claim the high road in disgust with District political leaders who have plead guilty to federal crimes should not forget or rewrite criminal political history.
Opposing political corruption should not be about race or political party. While the job of the U.S. Attorney for D.C. is to prosecute crime, he or she cannot be seen as engaging in selective investigations and prosecutions on the basis of race or political party. Editorial writers and the office of the U.S. Attorney for D.C. cannot play the race card and have different standards of political ethics. It is not the responsibility of prosecutors to be substituting their politics over the will of the people.
However, when it comes to playing the race card in District politics and recent criminal behavior it appears both Ms. Jo-Ann Armao (principal editorial writer on District affairs) and the editorial board of The Washington Post are leaders of the pack. Ms Armao and the editorial board of the Post close themselves off to the people; yet hypocritically arrogantly demand special access to and unequal treatment from elected and other government officials.
The criminal conduct of former members of the Council of the District of Columbia, Kwame Brown, Michael Brown, Harry Thomas, Jr., Mr. Keely Thompson were of their own making, rather than a reflection of a people or a political party. Their conduct was wrong and rightfully condemned and disappointing.
But in writing about and exposing government wrongdoing, Ms. Armao and the Post editorial board apparently want to paint a picture of ethical violations as singular to African American political leaders and the District Democratic Party. This is evidenced by their mild description in the media to the political contributions of Mr. Anthony C.Y. Cheng and his son Anthony R. Cheng,
There is a clear media double standard by Ms. Armao and the Post editorial board on matters relating to alleged corruption in the District government.
Moreover, when it comes to seeking to influence District public policy, it seems the only proper venue is the editorial boardroom of the Post and its corporate allies. When it comes to public transparency and ethics, Ms. Armao and the Post do not have ultimate clean hands to lead.
Ever since voters of the District rejected the re-election of former mayor Adrian M. Fenty and said goodbye to former DC Public Schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, Ms. Armao and the Post have seemingly been on a political tirade against District African American leadership, primarily if they are male. A notable exception would be its race-based attack of Council member Anita Bonds.
Through the use of its op-ed pages and news pages, the Post shows favoritism to views critical of District political leaders who are African American. However, news coverage about mayoral candidates Council members Muriel Bowser, Jack Evans, and Tommy Wells have a more positive reporting spin.
Although Post columnist Mr. Colby King writes strongly about the on-going federal investigations into the conduct District elected officials, he avoids the political hypocrisy and ethical arrogance of op-eds by Ms. Armao and the Post editorial board. But no one in good conscience can oppose demand to root out District corruption. However, it is hard not to see Ms. Armao and the Post editorial board’s crusade against District political corruption and ethical transgressions have a clear anti-African American and anti-District Democratic Party political spin.
While the U.S. Attorney for D.C. Mr. Ronald Machen, is targeting District corruption and getting guilty pleas in court, there are some District residents who view with skepticism his efforts are entirely race neutral. What were the prima facie factors used by Mr. Machen to select a particular 1 of 13 members of the Council of the District of Columbia for a corruption “sting” operation?
Moreover, Mr. Machen runs his own ethical risk of reading too much of his own press releases, as the media talk appears to be boosting him as a candidate for a future District political office (even though Mr. Machen is not a District resident).
A big obligation of Mr. Machen is not just investigating alleged government corruption. Mr. Machen also has a duty and a responsibility to the people of the District to acknowledge the end of an investigation – without an indictment. Any criminal investigation that is kept open just for the purpose of prosecutor intimidation, harassment, political leverage, or designed to influence any upcoming election is corrupt, unethical, and an abuse of power by the prosecutor.
No one should be left dangling on wings of an investigation that will not result in an indictment for editorial amusement or electoral showmanship. There is only one side to the matter of government corruption and ethical – oppose it.
However, there is more than one perspective as to whether or not Ms. Armao, and the Post editorial board have been fair in how they presented their opinions. Ms. Armao and the Post editorial board are quick to turn on the light to others for admitted or alleged wrongdoing; however, they will keep the people in darkness about their own ethical misgivings.
Public integrity is not just a principle for elected officials to follow, but also for Ms. Armao, the editorial board of The Washington Post, and the U. S. Attorney for D.C.
Ms. Armao, the editorial board of The Washington Post, and Mr. Machen consider themselves watchmen for District government corruption and ethics. The question is who watches the watchmen?
Yet, at the end of the day the people of the District of Columbia deserve and need good and ethical government with leaders who believe in it.
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