I hope that the state law and regulation are in place and enforceable in such a manner that this kind of clear conflict between the public’s interest and the interests of the insurance industry, the executive branch of state government, and the Wade family can be halted, penalties levied, and damage remedied by the Office of State Ethics. Perhaps that is asking too much. If so, then, at least, I’m sure a path toward needed reforms will be made more clear.
Certainly Commissioner Wade, who’s personal integrity I have no reason to question, should step back from this merger review.
Unlike the criminally corrupt practices —lining the pockets of a political cabal around the executive branch during the Rowland years for which successful prosecutions have been made by the federal judiciary— this kind of activity has reached a normative level— business as usual— we all say cynically.
Private sector appointees to the civil service have always been an issue for ethics review. Existing law and legislative approval respond to much of this I suppose. How then to respond when it is hardly a revolving door, but a corporate takeover of the state’s insurance regulatory function? And not a hostile takeover, but an arranged marriage officiated at and planned by the Governor?
Our democracy is severely undermined by ratifying and extending this kind of private power into the public realm of reason and the common good. Aristotle is easily understood on this, and his view is held to be foundational by most of those who work, like you on a citizen’s ethics panel, to sustain a discourse and reality of a practical politics. What should we do to live well, be happy, reasonable, and sociable? Your panel seeks the truth, not for the sake of curiosity, but for the sake of action. May the right course for the good of the people become evident to you!
It is a pleasure to become familiar with the fact that we have a Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board and to offer my opinion.