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Friday, July 15, 2005

Arnold Quits - Principle, Ethics in Short Supply in Sacramento

Governor Schwarzenegger announced today - nothing like late Friday afternoon for an announcement Guv - that he will no longer serve as Executive Editor of two muscle magazines, and that while he will still write columns for the magazines, he will no longer take the $1-1.6 million a year the job was paying him.

He's keeping more than $1 million already paid him by the magazine company though, and insists that there was nothing wrong with his having a plump and juicy private employment contract while serving as governor of California.

Check out our comments on the contract in yesterday's blog or Marcy Brightwell's story for Sacramento's KXTV Channel 10 last night.

It is apparent that his decision to quit his contract is not based on Governor Schwarzenegger's moral/ethical compass, but rather because it was discovered. The same is true of Assembly Speaker Nunez, who didn't renounce his $35,000/year consulting contract for a union nonprofit until it became public.

The Governor's grudging removal of himself from the contract is typical of recidivist behavior. The offender does and says whatever he has to do and say to extricate himself from penalty, then turns around and does it again. No moral lesson is learned.

In this case, that means that the people of California are stuck with a governor who thinks it's ethical for him to take millions of dollars from a company whose business is directly affected by the governor's decision on a bill, but because he understands that the public might disapprove of such an arrangement, still does everything possible to conceal it.

Candidates get selected and elected into office in California based predominantly on their ability to raise money. This system results in elected officials not who make the public interest their paramount concern, but rather who are hung up on money. Politicians on the payroll of private interests while in office is just the tip of the iceberg.

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