Skip to comments.Are the State Legislators More Corrupt than the Federal?
Posted on 06/09/2010 6:15:25 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
One of the arguments I often read opposing the repeal of the 17th Amendment, strangely enough comes by a variety of people from different ideologies, is that our state legislators are more corrupt than our elected federal legislators.
To me this sounds completely absurd. Yet time and time again I read in almost every comment portion of an article discussing the repeal of the 17th Amendment this very statement.
I have done a search through a couple of different scholarly search engines and I have not found any research to support this opinion. So where does this idea or opinion come from? It could possibly be one of the faulty arguments the progressives made during the run up to the enactment, and is still perpetuated in our government schools. Or people who are not in touch with their local elected officials make it. Im not totally sure but one thing I know there is no evidence to support such a statement.
So what do you think; are your state legislators more corrupt than the federal?
At least from my vantage point in Ohio, I would say the state folks are no more or no less corrupt than our federal folks. Basically politics is politics. Yet when I consider the shenanigans in Washington, Ive come to believe that the clowns in Congress are just better and more skilled at hiding said shenanigans. But again thats just an opinion and I have no evidence to support this statement.
Again what do you think? Are your state officials more corrupt than the federal? I believe its important that we discuss this question because if this country is going to return to an era of limited government and state representation in the federal government we have to have the confidence that the local elected officials are competent, and at some level, looking out for our state and local communities, something most of us can agree has not happened in this country for a very long time
unless of course you live in the late John Murthas district.
mario apuzzo interview...excellent...
The State legislatures do not choose senators by legislative or sovereign authority, but by a power of ministerial agency as mere electors or boards of appointment. They have no power to direct the senators how or what duties they shall perform; they have neither power to censure the senators, nor to supersede them for misconduct.
It is not the power of choosing to office merely that designates sovereignty, or else corporations who appoint their own officers and make their own by-laws, or the heads of department who choose the officers under them, such as commanders of armies, etc., may be called sovereigns, because they can name men to office whom they cannot dismiss therefrom.
The exercise of sovereignty does not consist in choosing masters, such as the senators would be, who, when chosen, would be beyond control, but in the power of dismissing, impeaching, or the like, those to whom authority is delegated. The power of instructing or superseding of delegates to Congress under the existing confederation has never been complained of, although the necessary rotation of members of Congress has often been censured for restraining the state sovereignties too much in the objects of their choice. As well may the electors who are to vote for the president under the new constitution, be said to be vested with the sovereignty, as the State legislatures in the act of choosing senators.
The senators are not even dependent on the States for their wages, but in conjunction with the federal representatives establish their own wages. The senators do not vote by States, but as individuals. The representatives also vote as individuals, representing people in a consolidated or national government; they judge upon their own elections, and, with the Senate, have the power of regulating elections in time, place and manner, which is in other words to say, that they have the power of elections absolutely vested in them.
-Antifederalist No. 39 APPEARANCE AND REALITY-THE FORM IS FEDERAL; THE EFFECT IS NATIONAL
The original mode of election was a fig leaf used to hide the true centralized character of the government created by the Constitution.
What we see locally doesn’t make the national news. Far too often, the peccadilloes of local/state politicians lead to resignations or being voted out of office. Except for a few cases, local prosecutors are very loath to take legal action against them, as they would be biting the hand that feeds them. We know how corrupt the local and state politicians are. That’s why we don’t want them appointing Senators...and why the 17th amendment was put in place.
NO, but some states are clearly in the running.
Texas has 2 ‘R’ senators (KBH is more of a RINO, and Cornyn is only conservative when he wants to be). Until the previous census, the state had ‘D’ legislators who would have sent ‘D’ Senators to DC. Remember that the ‘D’ state legislators ran off to New Mexico and to Oklahoma to try to avoid re-districting the state to more closely conform to the wishes of the people.
I don’t think the issue is whether state officials are more corrupt. It’s just that in giving them power to appoint Senators, voters are foregoing an opportunity to serve as a counterweight to state-level corruption. With direct election, there’s at least the prospect that every so often (e.g., 2010), voters will get angry enough to “throw the rascals out.” But if Senators are directly elected, voters can’t exercise that power except very indirectly. They can “throw the rascals out” at the state level, but since 1/3 of Senators are re-elected (or re-appointed if the Amendment 17 is repealed), it would take a lot of time for that to play out in terms of improving the quality of Senators appointed. In the meantime, there’s ample opportunity for the newly elected state legislators to become corrupted by the time they get around to deciding whether Senator X should stay or go.
I have mixed feelings about Amendment 17 repeal, so I’m not arguing strongly against the possibility. I’m just explaining the logic of those who oppose it.
Term limits and MAJOR tax reform(fair or flat) doesn’t solve all the problems of corruption but it is a good start.
Can't they already do that in House elections?
Obviously, this person doesn’t live in Illinois. Of course not every legislator or elected official in Illinois is corrupt. But, corruption is widespread enough to make the General Assembly a poster child for term limits. Some of us have played with the idea of marching on Springfield, chasing out the whole bloody lot at gunpoint and starting over again.
Try "Operation Lost Trust" (1990-1999). 17 members of the South Carolina General Assembly (it has 170 members, if memory serves, so that would be 10%) were convicted.
And if memory serves, that wasn't the largest in South Carolina's history. Somewhere around the time of Abscam and the Park scandal, South Carolina also had a major corruption scandal where a large fraction of the members were arrested. Maybe another freeper can remember enough details for me to run the details of that one down.
California had "Shrimpscam" (1984-1986). New Jersey, well, you could go on forever about New Jersey's corruption problems, but a typical one is the current "Operation Bid Rig" (see this DOJ document, for instance.)
And that's not to mention historical institutional corruption such as Tammany Hall.
The Seventeenth Amendment was the result of public reaction to widespread corruption. I remember reading the congressional discussions about the necessity of the Seventeenth Amendment, and it was replete with various scandals about the appointment — or lack of appointment because of political infighting — of various senators.
From the federal Senate's webpage on the Seventeenth Amendment:
(Found at http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/briefing/Direct_Election_Senators.htm.)
Intimidation and bribery marked some of the states' selection of senators. Nine bribery cases were brought before the Senate between 1866 and 1906. In addition, forty-five deadlocks occurred in twenty states between 1891 and 1905, resulting in numerous delays in seating senators. In 1899, problems in electing a senator in Delaware were so acute that the state legislature did not send a senator to Washington for four years.
BTW...in case it needed to be said....they were *all* RATS.
Living in NJ I’d say they are equally bad. There are some exceptions though much like the fed gov, the state gov is also a criminal enterprise.
“Can’t they already do that in House elections?”
In theory, yes. But in reality, the House is much further to the left of American public opinion than the Senate is, probably because Congress has accorded itself so much of an incumbency advantage: thus people get elected and re-elected even though their views increasingly diverge from those of the general voter.
The Senate is supposed to be the institution that cools the hot passions emanating from the House. This sort of works, but as we saw with the health reform bill, Nancy Pelosi’s willingness and ability to push through a far-left version of reform most definitely helped produce a final version of the plan that was much more leftist than it otherwise would have been. The point being that if we want Congress to reflect public opinion, putting our eggs all into the House basket doesn’t seem like a great idea. I’d rather give voters two bites of the apple, so to speak.
Of course, the worst form of corruption in the federal government is not the corruption of its individual officers but its vast expansion of power and systemic determination to spend the country into bankruptcy.
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