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John Livingston

Corruption

As we are very quickly approaching the primary elections in May and then the general elections in November the single most important issue that needs to be addressed by Idahoans is corruption at all levels in our state government. Corruption doesn’t have to be illegal to be devastating, but often it is both. Corruption is a habit. Innocent moral people can become part of the habit of making excuses for behaviors and be drawn into a vortex of cronyism, collusion that ultimately leads to corruption. Critical Race Theory(CRT), Medicaid fraud and abuse—Idaho has been identified as being the fourth worse State regarding Medicaid abuse—39% false claims, false coding and billing by providers, and symbiotic relationships between politicians and government agencies that are supposed to regulate the industries  that contribute to their campaigns. 

Edmond Burke, lawyer, supporter of American Colonial liberties in parliament, abolitionist, anti-Imperialist, prosecuted one of the most famous corruption cases in Anglo-American history—HASTINGS VS PARLIAMENT. Warren Hastings had been Governor General of India and had very close ties to the East India Company. Issues of rebates, bribes and kickbacks from the company to Hastings in exchange for confiscating tracks of land and procuring favored shipping rates and tariff payments were among many charges. At the beginning of the proceedings that lasted several years Burke famously stated “an issue that begins in commerce (often times) ends in power”. Hastings was ultimately acquitted, but his reputation was left in shambles.

Burke early in the debate stated that bribery, nepotism, diversion of government resources for personal and private uses “do not have to be illegal to be devastating”. A deliberate and well-constructed prosecution of the corrupt actions of Hastings was irrefutable when the facts were presented before Parliament.  Instead of defending his actions based on the facts, Hastings chose to make the argument—and I paraphrase, that when operating in a corrupt environment is it not acceptable to operate in “local norms”?

Padidek Ala’s a professor at American University Washington College of Law opines in more detail than I can offer that “the central part of Hasting’s defense was that in India corruption was locally acceptable”.

Edmond Burke’s response is worth reproducing in full:

Your Lordships know that these gentlemen have formed a plan of geographical morality, by which the duties of men, in public and private situations, are not to be governed by their relation to the great Governor of the Universe, or by their relation to mankind, but by climates . . . latitudes: as if, when you crossed the equinoctial, all the virtues die … by which they unbaptize themselves of all that they learned in Europe …. This geographical morality we do protest against; Mr. Hastings shall not screen himself under it ….

[W]e think it necessary, in justification of ourselves, to declare that the laws of morality are the same everywhere, and that there is no action which would pass for an act of extortion, of peculation, of bribery, and of oppression in England, that is not an act of extortion, of peculation, of bribery, and oppression in Europe, Asia, Africa and all the world over. This I contend for not in the technical forms of it, but I contend for it in the substance.

Who pays with their taxes for public education and subsidizes with their taxes our schools and State Universities? Parents (citizens). Who pays for health care in our States with their insurance premiums and taxes—50% of health care in our State is paid via government transfer payments? Patients, citizens, and voters. At a time when health care spending has increased from 6% to 18% of GDP in 30 years, and when over 40% of our state’s budget goes to the Department of Health and Welfare—$4billion this year, and when one in five patients in Idaho is on Medicaid and Medicaid has been identified as being the 4th most corrupt Medicaid program in the country—39% corruption (fraudulent enrollments and billings and coding by providers), what could possibly incentivize the stewards(politicians) of our labors to not hold these programs accountable? When the people charged with regulating large hospital systems and insurance carriers, or administering our educational system, receive campaign contributions from those they are charged with regulating or go to the Governor’s Cup as guests of lobbyists who represent those organizations, how can we not have a corrupt system?

Over the past two weeks I have talked to legislators from both houses and from both parties. There is common ground between all parties regarding this issue. Specifically, our health care system has been well recognized by many as being corrupt. Pointing out increased costs to patient-citizens, increasing prices, increasing executive salaries—the former CEO from St. Luke’s made $8.2 million and $10 million his last two years of “service”. I am sure this is more than some of his predecessors made in their entire careers. The abuses in my opinion of the health care system in our State are at least obscene and corrupt. I will let the legalities be debated by lawyers.

One Democratic legislator offered me a suggestion. How about circulating a petition amongst the legislators asking them not to accept campaign contributions from Big Pharma, Hospital Systems, and Insurance Carriers. How about asking those running for statewide office the same thing? I doubt Governor Little or Scott Bedke would sign such a pledge. When I suggested to my Democratic legislator friend that the same kind of document be circulated about contributions from teacher union(s) he wasn’t so enthusiastic. So goes politics.

I have found the following interesting breakout about my suggestion. Conservative Republicans and Democrats that I have talked to have agreed to sign on to this proposal. RINO Republicans not so much! Surprising? Who is corrupt?

I think the conservative candidates running for Governor and Lt. Governor in the May Primary should latch onto this idea and campaign on it. Corruption is the issue. (CRT)=corruption. Healthcare spending=corruption. Lobbyist controlling the politicians and bureaucrats that contribute to their election campaigns=corruption. Corruption is the issue. Run on it. Time is running out.

“An issue that begins in commerce ends in power”

That’s what Edmond Burke said. What do the people of Idaho say?

What does IACI/IHA/IMA/ C0fC/teacher union(s) say?

Guess we will find out in May and November.

One reply on “Corruption”

Talk is cheap unless we expose those who are corrupt. The average citizen is too ignorant, naïve or apathetic to know. If they did, I trust they would vote appropriately. But just like 99% of Dem voters, they’ll fill in any box with an R beside it regardless of the candidate’s integrity. There needs to be a massive public information campaign to help those unwilling to do the investigative research themselves see who the corrupt candidates are. Otherwise, we will be mired in more of the same.

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