Recent Ethics Commentaries

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Conflicts of Interest
“I don’t pick the winner,” Air Force Major General Stephen Goldfein reportedly said, “but if I did, I’d pick SMS.” That statement comes as part of a report that found that Goldfein helped award a $50 million contract to a favored company. According to the Department of Defense Inspector General’s report, “The investigation found that the December 2005 award to...
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April 18, 2008
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Driving Miss Pilar
The Washington Post reported that Pilar O’Leary, head of the Smithsonian Latino Center resigned last February due to 14 ethical and conflict-of-interest violations. According to a report the Post received in response to a Freedom of Information request, “The investigation revealed that O’Leary has not always acted in the best interests of the Smithsonian,” and that “Her conduct has violated...
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April 16, 2008
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Do You Know Me?
“I’m a Congressional Representative who has been accused of using my position to promote business deals in Africa.” ? ? ? “The FBI videotaped me receiving $100,000 in $100 bills in a leather briefcase at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Arlington, Virginia.” ? ? ? “A subsequent raid on my office by the FBI found $90,000 of the cash in my...
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April 1, 2008
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The Four Horsemen
When it comes to corruption, the Four Horsemen of the Ethical Apocalypse remain:  Money, Power, Influence and Arrogance. In a 2006 survey that I conducted with Zogby International and the Center for Cultural Studies and Analysis, Americans have decidedly low levels of trust and confidence in its leadership.  “Most Americans,” the Center says, “have moved beyond thinking of violations of honesty...
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March 28, 2008
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It’s Good To Be Honest!
Well… maybe with this guy, you could make the case for too much honesty. But the reality is that in the last several years we have seen an unsettling number of ethics scandals.  And every time another indignity is reported, our level of trust and confidence in individuals and institutions declines. In 2006, I wanted to know if these events were...
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March 26, 2008
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Real Leadership
In his book, “A Higher Standard of Leadership” Keshavan Nair writes, “Today, many people believe that it is not possible to be successful in the world of business and politics and still to maintain one’s integrity – integrity not defined by absence of financial corruption, but by adherence to moral principles in all activities. “The standard of leadership depends not...
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March 24, 2008
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What Did He Do, Now?
Okay class, let’s all bow our heads in a moment of silence for the retirement of Robert Montgomery “Bobby” Knight, “the winningest coach in Division I men’s college basketball.” Moment over. I’m now going to say something that will more than likely be anathema to most college basketball fans on the planet:  I’m glad.  Thank God!  FINALLY!! After years of enduring...
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March 20, 2008
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The Elmer Gantry Effect
The bloggers, the media and everyone in-between are having a field day over the recent sex-scandal involving, soon-to-be Ex-Governor, Eliot Spitzer. Cable news channels are bursting with lawyers, politicians, and pundits as well as former targets of Spitzer’s legal wrath – all weighing in with their own views and analysis, most of which are negative.  And there’s a part of...
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March 13, 2008
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Top Ten Encouraging Ethics Stories of 2007
It’s easy to play the cynic and say everything’s going to hell in a hand basket when overwhelmed by the more than 1,650 ethics-related stories from last year.  It’s far more difficult to live up to a higher standard in spite of ethical failures. This is all the more reason we need to acknowledge those individuals and companies who do it right. ...
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March 12, 2008
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Client 9
When a breach of trust occurs, so many people are affected. When that breach occurs with an elected official, the implications are more far-reaching.  But Eliot Spitzer was no ordinary, elected official.  He was elected governor of the state of New York in large part because of his passion for meaningful ethics reform and direct actions against fraud and corruption....
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March 10, 2008

Read Some of the Most Recent Articles
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“The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries. — Rene Descartes, 16th century French Mathematician While...
Will Donald Trump Finally Get His Comeuppance?
Is there any Rubicon, despicable, illegal or otherwise, that Trump could cross that would change the hearts and minds of loyalists? Fox pundit Sean Hannity...
Fraud at the Polls?
The cancer of false conspiracies, lies, and cynicism eating away at the Republic—lies propagated and fed by the former president and his allies—has metastasized to...
“I. Do. Not. Like. Bullies.”
That’s Arizona Republican and Speaker of the House . . . correction, former Speaker of the House, Rusty Bowers who had been abruptly shown the...
Debate: How We’re Doing It Wrong
Every time another mass shooting occurs, the debate begins again. FOR GUN CONTROL – Nineteen, the number of mass shootings that have occurred since January...
Think It Can’t Happen Here?
     “If there’s one American belief I hold above all others, it’s that those who would set themselves up in judgment on matters of what...