Gage Skidmore / Flickr Ryan Zinke...
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

We all know how this game is being played. The Scott Pruitts, Kris Kobachs, and Ryan Zinkes of the world are pushed into powerful positions by organized networks of oligarchs. Once in these positions, they abuse power to benefit their masters. In some Administrations, they get away with it without any consequence whatsoever. Their oligarch masters then reward them with sinecures that pay millions or tens of millions. These are quite plainly payment for corrupt services rendered.

If this cycle is to end, then high officials who abuse their power and violate the public trust must be vigorously investigated. They cannot be permitted to slink away by resigning or retiring when their terms end.

The Trump administration is so toxic, and its cabinet so corrupt, that many are being forced to resign in shame, taken down by dogged reporting of scandals. If we allow things to continue as they have in the past, once they resign, these malefactors will lay low for a few months, and then come up for air at some oligarch’s business. They will receive large amounts as rewards for their corruption and malfeasance in helping a benefactor exploit and abuse our natural or human resources.

There is only one way to end this cycle of impunity for the rich, powerful and their chosen abetters. Enforce the laws, shine the light of justice on them, prosecute them vigorously when you have power.

Make an example out of them, put fear into the hearts of those who seek to obtain the power to enrich themselves and their friends.

That is the only way to break this cycle.

If we allow them to get away with it, in another four or eight years, there will be a new crop of corrupt rogues seeking to follow this path to riches. That is what we learned by not prosecuting the environmental and war crimes of the Bush administration.

Mere dismissal or forced resignation cannot be the sole remedy. Once removed from power, they must be investigated. Once out of the limelight, they must still be prosecuted. And if they are found guilty of abusing their power, violating the public trust or corruption. Lock. Them. Up.

 

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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