Members of Congress and Ethical Violations
Members of Congress, just like other holders of public offices in the United States, are subject to investigation and prosecution for ethical violations. The Office of Congressional Ethics is an independent watchdog that investigates charges of corruption and ethical misconduct by members of Congress. However, in modern times, it is evident that the Congress is reluctant to punish its own. Numerous ethical violation charges are brought up against different members of Congress, but little has been done to punish them (Rose-Ackerman, 2016).
Recent Case of Ethics Violation Charges
One recent case of charges of ethics violation against a member of Congress involved former congressman Alan Grayson. An Office of Congressional Ethics investigation in 2016 found that the former Florida Rep might have used his office and staff for personal financial matters including for his U.S. Senate bid. According to a House committee report, Grayson might have allowed one of his House staff members to work in his family-run hedge fun using official resources. The former congressman was also accused of not disclosing all his finances and conducting business deals with the federal government that would be a conflict of interest. Grayson denied these charges and the House Ethics Committee did not launch a further investigation into the accusations.
Disagreement with the House Ethics Committee's Decision
I disagree with the House Ethics Committee's decision of not launching a further investigation into the accusations against Alan Grayson. According to a report by the committee, the former congressman might have engaged in acts that violate ethical standards while serving as a representative for Florida. It is the committee's responsibility to investigate lawmakers and present reports for further action against any misconduct by members of the Congress. Members of Congress should not use their offices in a manner that either directly or indirectly results in their benefits. As such, the Committee should have conclusively investigated the allegations of Grayson's misuse of office resources.
High Number of Uninvestigated Ethics Violations
Another reason I disagree with the committee's decision is the high number of ethics violation accusations against members of Congress that have not been exhaustively investigated and punitive actions are taken. For instance, other congress members such as Charles Rangel, Maxine Waters, and Vern Buchanan have in the past been accused of ethics violations, but little action was taken against them (Rose-Ackerman, 2016). The lenient measures taken against members charged with ethics violation erode my trust of members of Congress. It makes one feel that members of Congress always hesitate to punish one of their own, even in serious matters such as ethics violation.
Third Party Candidates in the United States
Two major parties dominate the United States' democracy: Democrats and Republicans. Despite the existence of several notable third parties in the country, no third party candidate has ever won the race for the presidency in the United States. Some of the third parties include the Libertarian Party, Bible-based Constitution party, the Conservative, and the Super-Liberal Green Party. The only independent candidate that has ever won a presidential election is George Washington in 1789. There are various political reasons why third-party candidates never succeed in their bid for the presidency (Levitsky, 2018).
Challenges Faced by Third Party Candidates
One major reason for lack of success for third party candidates is the government's efforts to make it difficult for the third party candidates to be part of the presidential elections. For instance, strict ballot access laws make it difficult for alternative parties to get on the ballot. Also, these candidates do not get a large stage to showcase their views; they are often not included in presidential debates.
Another reason for the failure of third party candidates is that the parties are relatively small. For instance, the largest of the other parties is the Libertarian Party, which has 1% popularity among the public. Most people tend to think that their vote would not matter if they vote for a third party candidate, because no matter who they vote for, a third party will never win (Levitsky, 2018).
Political Impacts of a Third Party Candidate's Victory
If a third party candidate ever won the presidency, it would have significant political impacts on the Republican and Democratic parties. It would break the culture of a two-party system in the United States. Also, in a political environment of winner-have-it all, the Republicans and Democrats would have it hard in their stance in government during the independent president's reign.
Federal and State Authority in Combating Terrorism
Terrorism is one current issue facing the United States today. Defending against terrorism continues to rank among the American's leading priorities for the president and Congress. Recently, the public's views of the campaign against ISIS has sharply improved. The first line of defense in any terrorism emergency is the state governments, who turn to the federal government for help when they fear their resources have been exhausted. As stipulated in the Constitution, the federal government has the responsibility of handling those elements of military, diplomatic, and intelligence policy that identify and combat terrorist entities and state sponsors. However, the principle of subsidiarity states that each level of government properly tends to those tasks for which it is best suited (Becker, 2018).
Becker, R. (2018). Filling State and Federal Gaps with Local Solutions: One City Mayor’s Perspective. State and Local Government Review, 0160323X17752219.
Levitsky, S. (2018). Peru: The Institutionalization of Politics without Parties. Party Systems in Latin America, 326.
Rose-Ackerman, S., " Palifka, B. J. (2016). Corruption and government: Causes, consequences, and reform. Cambridge university press.