Archive for the ‘history’ Category

Political Corruption

Posted: July 30, 2016 in history, Leadership

All you have to do is get into the lowest level of elected office to find out there are land-mines in your efforts to be active. I found that out years ago. I was thrust onto the executive board of a local political party’s organization at the legislative district level. I am a precinct committee officer, the lowest level elected office in Washington state. I was asked to replace an elected executive board member, by him, because he had decided to pursue other priorities. I accepted, and was elected the next election.
I was also elected several times without an opponent. Get this clear: precinct committee officer and executive board member are two separate and distinct positions. I ran into problems trying to fulfill my obligations as a PCO. It was the second election caucus, in 2008, which had generated a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm. The results of that was an attendance by my precinct of about 10 times the normal turn-out. Without any real training, just being handed the instructions, I tried to get the job done. To say it didn’t turn out so well is an understatement. I let myself get distracted by a person who was promoting his candidate, and engaged me in a conversation as the caucus got underway. I did some things right, but I also didn’t do some critical things that, in a more formal environment, would have disenfranchised my attendees. Fortunately, the shortcomings were overlooked and I believe our pick for candidate was recorded. The next caucus, for some reason (I can’t remember why) our precinct was conducted by another, more qualified, individual. The last caucus would have been conducted flawlessly because of our very capable county political organization’s chair conducting multiple training sessions. The problem is near the end of another really greatly attended caucus, I became deathly ill and had to leave. One of the participants had been trained, took over, and finished the job. As far as anybody could tell, I had just taken off without a good reason.
Where I really dropped the ball was at a meeting of the legislative district executive board meeting. It was campaign season and campaign buttons were in the offing. I suggested my daughter’s business would be a good choice beings her prices were much better than any other company’s. The board decided to go with the party’s lady’s group’s doing the job with their newly purchased button machine. What I did not think about is the conflict of interest I was guilty of promoting a family member’s business with the party. That’s a no no.It is the way so many politicians have gotten into trouble.
Why this is a very important lesson is in today’s Presidential election where one of the candidates is being roundly criticized by a practice that had been in place by two previous office holders. The practice was ultimately not determined to be a criminal offense, but the head of the investigating body chastised the candidate for sloppy job performance, giving the opponents a big reason to drive this into the ground right up to the election.