How Partisanism Is Supposed to Function

From the RIGOP:

The Rhode Island Republican Party has today filed an Ethics complaint against Attorney General Patrick Lynch stemming from his acceptance of gifts from industry associations that he regulates. Attorney General Patrick Lynch has violated Regulation 36-14-5009 of the Code of Ethics, which prohibits public officials from receiving a gift of more than $75 in one year from an interested person. Based on records received from the Office of Attorney General, Mr. Lynch was the recipient of a gift of $428.50 for a trip to New Orleans on May 18 – 20, 2008. For a gift to violate the Code of Ethics, it must meet certain criteria. Essentially, under Regulation 36-14-5009 of the Code of Ethics, a gift of more than $75 in any calendar year from a single “interested person” is prohibited. As to the amount requirement, a trip to New Orleans, which cost at least $428.50, certainly exceeds $75.00.
RI GOP Chairman Giovanni Cicione noted that “If we allow our elected officials and regulators to be wined and dined by the very industries we ask them to oversee, we are leaving the door wide open to corruption, graft, and abuse of public office.” “Patrick Lynch could have easily paid for this travel through his campaign account and avoided this conflict, but once again he has shown that when you are a powerful Democrat in Rhode Island, the rules are made to be broken.” Accordingly, the RIGOP recommends that the Commission investigate this violation, and fine Mr. Lynch for violating the Ethics Code.

My first thought is that Gio’s press releases have contrasted in his favor, lately, with those of his counterpart for the Democrats, Patrick’s brother Bill. Lynch always has his partisan attacks set to “kill,” which tends to make him look hateful and mean. That presentation may rile up the base for a few minutes, but it contributes to distrust and cynicism. Yeah, Gio’s got the partisan jab, toward the end, but the bulk of the message is simply a description of the circumstances and the GOP’s actions.
My second thought is that this is a clear example of why having at least two active parties is so important: to point out each other’s slips. Voters can then decide whether a particular revelation matters or not.
Perhaps the distinction may be put thus: Is the partisan telling his audience what he believes and why or is he telling his audience how they should feel, because he is of superior insight?

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