Instead of new ethics regulations, how about electing ethical people? Representatives at all levels of government know they have no business being wined and dined by lobbyists, or anyone else who is seeking their support. What, we're supposed to believe that these perks have no influence on the decisions of our representatives? Right, nudge nudge, wink wink. Neither should they be reimbursed for dry cleaning and cell phone use.
Our politicians, in office and/or working as talking heads, have been pampered, bribed and have granted themselves entitlements for so long that they have become unashamedly blatant. The only regulation necessary would impose a stiff penalty for any ethics violation -- a penalty consisting of a fine, jail time and lifetime prohibition from serving in government or actively participating in politics.
Ethics violations are not unintentional missteps. People do not just momentarily "forget" the difference between right and wrong. I won't deny that gray areas may exist, I just haven't seen any examples to date.
Because unethical people have a diminished character, they have no regard for anyone but themselves. If you want to really address the lack of ethics in government, make ethics a major criteria in your life, in education and in your voting decisions without regard for a candidate's flag pin and religious affiliation. If we do this, the face of our government will change for the better and we won't need to discuss ethics regulations.
-- MIKE WILSON, RICHLAND