W.Va. Ethics Commission should be free of political influence

An editorial from The Exponent Telegram

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — It could be said that mixing ethics and politics makes for the perfect oxymoron, which by definition “is a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction.”

Yes, for years, politicians and their ethical lapses have long been the fodder of late-night comedians. But the ethical lapses of elected and appointed officials shouldn’t be considered laughing matters because they paint a perception that leads to an apathetic electorate and subsequently, bad government.

That’s been made readily apparent in West Virginia, where watered-down ethics laws and vindictive legislators have kept the Mountain State in the backwaters in terms of policing elected officials and the perks they are prone to be offered.

The most recent example is the firing of the Ethics Commission Executive Director Joan Parker and the plan to dismantle the current ethics board.

Most believe Parker was targeted because she did her job and fought against a law that would have exempted county conservation district officers from using public office for public gain. As The Charleston Gazette reports, the law would have allowed those people to direct conservation grants to their own farms.

How absurd does government have to become before good people say enough is enough? Why should any elected or appointed official be able to directly benefit from his or her position?

Parker stood up for the good people of West Virginia, and it cost her her job…

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