Today's Columbus Dispatch reports several items related to graft and corruption in governments:
- Marc Dann gets off with a slap on the wrist. (At least I would call a $1,000 fine for a former Attorney General just a slap on the wrist). The article does note that he could still face criminal charges related to that frat house he ran while in office. (This might be one time I agree with the Republicans).
- Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is having some confusion managing her (State-level) Secretary of State campaign fund at the same time as her (Federal-level) U.S. Senate campaign fund.
- In Athens County, a candidate for County Prosecutor is accused of mishandling $27,000 in campaign funds.
- Finally, the U.S. Supreme Court's decision asking judges to recuse themselves in cases affecting parties who made large campaign contributions to their campaigns is sparking an outcry against electing judges.
What do all these have in common? They are the product of overcentralizing government. Centralizing too much power puts power in the hands of lobbyists and large campaign contributors. There is no way to eliminate the ability to buy elections, consistent with the First Amendment -- so the only way to end the problem is to remove the power, and place it at the local level, with some oversight from the State Auditor and Inspector General to protect against petty despotisms (that breed situations similar to the one in Athens County).