Sharon Corrigan’s New Job At Alliant Energy Center Underscores Process Concern

I was surprised at the news late last night that Dane County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan was to resign at once from her elected position. Today we learned why that decision was made, and with the news comes one more reason to call into question this type of employment advancement. 

Corrigan will now serve as interim director of the Alliant Energy Center.  She said in her morning statement that “This is a facility that I’ve spent a lot of time paying attention to in my work on the county board because it provides so much to our community.” 

While her work on the Center was most valued, and to be applauded, it needs to be underscored that when it comes to the best process in how our government should operate requires an end to this unseemly turnstile type of employment move.

We hear again and again from progressives and liberals that there needs to be an end to government officials quitting their jobs only to then secure a fat paycheck from the entities they were deeply engaged in during their government work.  The $400 million expansion of the Center was a policy move that had merit–much merit.

But I am troubled that the person who was able to make such progress with the issue on the County Board now has the job as interim director of the Alliant Energy Center.  This is what gives the government, and those who really do strive for high ethics while serving the public, a darker connotation.    

And so it goes.

Watergate Related Obits Piling Up

Here at the Caffeinated Politics desk Donald Trump impeachment proceedings are being followed with email updates, radio, and newspapers.  If there were not enough current impeachment proceedings to ponder there are also the obituaries coming in from that other historical impeachment period when President Nixon and Watergate made for headlines.

Tom Railsback, an eight-term Illinois congressman who forged what he called a “fragile bipartisan coalition” between his fellow Republicans and the Democratic majority on the House Judiciary Committee in 1974 to draft articles of impeachment against President Richard M. Nixon, died on Monday in Mesa, Ariz. He was 87.

On July 27, 1974, the judiciary committee voted 27 to 11, with 6 of the panel’s 17 Republicans joining all 21 Democrats, to send to the full House an article of impeachment. The article accused the president of unlawful tactics that constituted a “course of conduct or plan” to obstruct the investigation of the break-in at the offices of the Democratic opposition in the Watergate complex in Washington by a White House team of burglars.

“Railsback and Walter Flowers, a Democrat, basically created the coalition that was necessary to make the House Judiciary Committee vote a bipartisan one,” Michael Koncewicz, the author of “They Said No to Nixon: Republicans Who Stood Up to the President’s Abuses of Power” (2018), wrote in an email.

Also, there is news of the death of a ‘plumber’ from the Nixon era.

Egil Krogh, who as part of President Richard M. Nixon’s staff was one of the leaders of the secret “Plumbers” unit that broke into the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist, a prelude to the Watergate burglary that brought down the Nixon presidency, died on Saturday in Washington. He was 80.

His son Peter said the cause was heart failure.

In November 1973, Mr. Krogh, known as Bud, pleaded guilty to “conspiracy against rights of citizens” for his role in the September 1971 break-in at the office of Dr. Lewis Fielding in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The Plumbers, a group of White House operatives, were tasked with plugging leaks of confidential material, which had bedeviled the Nixon administration. Mr. Ellsberg, a military analyst, had been responsible for the biggest leak of all: passing the Pentagon Papers, the top-secret government history of the Vietnam War, to The New York Times earlier that year.

The Plumbers were hoping to get information about Mr. Ellsberg’s mental state that would discredit him, but they found nothing of importance related to him.

In 2007, to mark the 35th anniversary of the Watergate break-in (in which he played no part), Mr. Krogh wrote an essay for The Times about the Fielding break-in, which he believed had established the mind-set for Watergate.

“The premise of our action was the strongly held view within certain precincts of the White House that the president and those functioning on his behalf could carry out illegal acts with impunity if they were convinced that the nation’s security demanded it,” he wrote. “As President Nixon himself said to David Frost during an interview six years later, ‘When the president does it, that means it is not illegal.’ To this day the implications of this statement are staggering.”  (emphasis mine.)

Recalling The Words From Alexander Hamilton

Impeachment history in brief form here today.

Federalist Paper #65, written by my favorite Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton, outlines some of the reasoning and thinking behind the establishment of the Senate, presided over by the Cheif Justice, as the jury, requiring a two-thirds majority to convict, and the House, as the prosecutor, requiring a simple majority to present the evidence. Ponder the words.

In many cases it will connect itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.

The delicacy and magnitude of a trust which so deeply concerns the political reputation and existence of every man engaged in the administration of public affairs, speak for themselves. The difficulty of placing it rightly, in a government resting entirely on the basis of periodical elections, will as readily be perceived, when it is considered that the most conspicuous characters in it will, from that circumstance, be too often the leaders or the tools of the most cunning or the most numerous faction, and on this account, can hardly be expected to possess the requisite neutrality towards those whose conduct may be the subject of scrutiny.

Mr. Peanuts To Die On Super Bowl Ad

Call me whatever, but this story just does not seem overly funny.  Snack food company Planters will kill off their famed mascot Mr. Peanut, and his “funeral” will take place during the Super Bowl.

Yeah, I get how the marketing folks desire to update their iconic snack food advertising.  But when the world is filled with so much awful news on a daily basis I am not sure how killing off an ad trademark, which we all have known for decades, and then have a funeral ad, is to be viewed as entertaining.

If the point is to make a memorable ad, then points need to be given.  But for making a statement about the times in which we live and a commentary on the harsh world that greets us–even during the Super Bowl–this makes my point.

We are in a world of hurt.   The ad reflects the dark place we are at in 2020.

I recall from my years of watching the ads when we all talked for days after the game about Budweiser Clydesdales and how Fred Astaire danced with a vacuum.  Sociologists will have much to write about as they ponder the times in which we live.