Recent Ethics Commentaries

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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
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The Fog of Torture
“Washington – President Bush reversed course on Thursday and accepted Senator John McCain’s call for a law banning cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of foreign suspects in the war on terror.” Wait, I’m sorry, I quoted the wrong story.That story, reported by the Associated Press, appeared on December 15, 2005! Let me start over. “Washington – March 8, 2008, President Bush...
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March 8, 2008
Top Ten Ethical Lapses of 2007
I don’t know about previous years, but 2007 certainly seemed to be a banner year for good and bad, (mostly bad) ethics-related stories. So many stories, so hard to choose… only ten! January 1, 2007 started when Eliot Spitzer, New York’s ethical sheriff, is sworn in as the 54th governor of that state. A key campaign pledge: ethics reform. “If there is...
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March 5, 2008