How to Stop Criminal Politicians


Edward Fitzpatrick wondered, in his Sunday Providence Journal column, how to put an end to the constant corruption in Rhode Island government:

I posed the question to Fox himself: What would this corrupt politician suggest they do at the State House to keep this kind of corruption from happening again?

“Maybe get rid of the connection to electronic banking,” he said, suggesting he might not have looted his campaign account if he had to walk into a bank and face a teller. “It became very easy to push a button and transfer from one to the other.”

Well, I suppose eliminating modern banking is one idea. But how about restoring full Ethics Commission jurisdiction over state legislators to patrol for conflicts of interest? “I passed a bill in the House to give Ethics Commission jurisdiction on the legislature years ago,” Fox replied, “and it’s something that I believe should be looked at again.”

Sure, we could spend another 5-20 years trying to inch the General Assembly toward returning the Ethics Commission’s authority to investigate legislators, but that’s an awful lot of time and energy just to get back to a situation in which corruption was hardly rare, in Rhode Island’s past.

Unfortunately, the two actual solutions to the problem are anathema to liberal journalists:  reduce the scope of government’s power, and build up competing parties.  As long as government’s authority over our lives is constantly growing, and as long as a single party runs the state without challenge, no fixes will work.  All those that are proposed will be perverted into traps for upstart outsiders, whom the media will predictably treat as suspect.

The elites in Rhode Island don’t believe that regular folks can be trusted to run their own lives, and they all still believe the three-generations of pop-culture nonsense that insists that Democrats are always the good guys who are “for the people.”

If Fitzpatrick wants to help turn things around, in Rhode Island’s government, he should start writing profiles of people who aren’t part of the local governing establishment.  If reporters want to challenge the way things are done, in RI, they should start by challenging their own understanding of who the good guys are.

  • Max

    How about challenging the elites? How many people shouted from the roof tops that our General Treasurer was lying about his experience and we got no follow-up from MSM. Who challenged our governor on the “we can’t cut or tax our way out of this” as her mantra? What media outlet besides WPRO criticized the Democratic Party for it’s boycott of WPRO during an election? Except for very few notable exceptions, the media in this state gets a failing grade.

  • Mike Rollins

    This essay assumes that Edward Fitzpatrick is a useful idiot, when Fitzpatrick may well instead be a fellow traveler.

    • guest

      Just like a fish does not realize that it is immersed in water — like you are not usually cognizant that you are surrounded by air — members of the media are so steeped in progressive ideology that their basis for evaluating any situation is warped beyond reason

  • Slow Poke

    There are at least two huge obstacles to accountable and honest government in our failing state.

    1. The citizens have to take a greater interest in how their state is being run, perhaps putting that subject on a par with, say, cruising Facebook or Youtube.

    2. And, should that happen, the special interests who now run the state for their own benefit might find some pushback. Recall that, in the last election, somewhere around half of the seats in the GA were uncontested.