Willie Brown on political ethics

Recently Willie Brown offered his take on the Blagojevich scandal. He writes:

Take Caroline Kennedy, who looks like she’s in line to get Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Senate seat in New York. If she goes to the governor, David Paterson, and tells him, “I’m Caroline Kennedy, and I have distinguished myself. And I am able to raise a ton of money” – and he appoints her – is there a quid pro quo if she then goes and raises money for him?

I’m not sure. But I do know that those are the kinds of things that come up in discussions about whether a politician will or won’t appoint someone to a job.

It’s surprising that Brown professes to be so unclear on the ethics of political appointments after his long political career. In the example he presents to explain his apparent uncertainty about this, a potential appointee offers the ability to raise money not for an individual’s personal gain but for a political campaign. Is this a gray area? Maybe. But calling a possibly off-white area gray does not make a completely wrong one right. Yet Brown maintains of Bragojevich’s actions that they are “all part of the democratic system. Whether Blagojevich went beyond that is open to question.”

Certainly legal guilt carries a greater burdon of proof than does guilt in the court of public opinion. But Blagojevich, if the transcripts that have been made public are accurate, appears to have be looking for money to go directly to himself and his family. It’s interesting that Willie Brown would attempt to blur the boundary between this and the Caroline Kennedy fundraising example above.

Brown has always appeared to have an uncomfortable relationship with President Elect Obama. Is it a coincidence that Zennie Abraham is saying at Oakland Focus that Obama outed Blagojevich?

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