By Wayne William Cipriano
As far as money is concerned, we must hold our elected officials in low repute as so many rules, regulations, and laws have been adopted to prevent them from enriching them-selves while “serving” the public.
One of those preventions is the fiction we have heard so much about lately called Blind Trusts. Much like it sounds, a Blind Trust places the assets of an elected official in a position that keeps the official from benefitting those assets by govern-mental action.
The only way this can realistically be accomplished is for an elected official to liquidate all assets and give the resulting cash to an entity that then keeps the disposition of that cash secret. Buy-sell stocks, bonds, funds, businesses, metals, collecti-bles, loan it out, bury the cash in a jar in the backyard, whatever. But secretly!
Thus, elected officials would be unable to determine what if any effect their official behavior would have on their personal assets.
Of course, this is impossible. Cashing out any asset that could possibly be benefitted by govern-mental action would not only require the sale of pretty much everything owned, but might generate a huge income tax liability or possibly a devastating loss of value. Who would “serve” in public office under those requirements?
So, what usually happens is the assets are controlled by a trustee preventing the sale and purchase of them by the officials who, I guess, try to forget what they had going into office.
Interestingly enough, the president and vice-president are not forced into Blind Trusts as are our legislators. I think the Judiciary escape Blind Trusts as well, but you might check on that.
We could do away with all this financial finagling by simply relying on the integrity and honor of our elected officials.