Congressional Ethics

Published: 2019-07-17 16:44:30
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Representative Charles B. Rangel was until the summer of 2010 one of the most influential members of the House Congress. Rangel was found guilty of having committed eleven ethical violations including improper conducts in fundraising of donations, failure to reveal financial information, acceptance of improper benefits and failure to pay taxes on rental income, wrongful use of House resources (Struglinski & Friedman, 2011). The trial was handled by eight-lawmaker subcommittee that made a unanimous verdict on ten of the counts. The House ethics committee convicted Rangel of the ethics violations. The Veteran Representative became the first House member in nearly three decades to be censured after the long trial (Struglinski & Friedman, 2011).

The censure verdict is second the highest punishment after the expulsion. The verdict is reserved for serious ethical violation offenses but does not remove a congressman from office. It is an official statement of disapproval that requires the convicted members to stand before their colleagues as the censure resolution is read. A censure is intended to cause a great psychological effect on a Congress member and his relationships. The censure verdict imposed was a significant step by the Congress to impose penalties on ethical violation among its members and an effective way for the House representative members to solidify their credibility with the public.

Third Party Candidates

There are several reasons why third party candidates have rarely been successful at the presidential level in the United States America. The two- party system of the election has for long influenced the American political system. Stated otherwise, the two- party election system has been a tradition in the United States of America in which the majority of the population is accustomed. Therefore, to most of the electorate the third party is an alien concept, and the presidential candidates cannot receive the required national attention and support. In fact, Meltzer et al., (2004), the American constitution began with a two- party system of election, and this could be the main reason the two-party systems have been very popular and successful in American political system.

Despite an active political presence of the third parties in the American electoral processes, third party presidential candidates rarely succeeded since the winner-takes -all electoral system does not present a chance to win such elections (Meltzer et al., 2004). The American populace has been considered to be to be made of a homogeneous group of people who tend to incline their support to ideologies of either the Democratic or Republican Party. In essence, most people would prefer to support a party of their choice rather than a presidential candidate of a particular party if they have no credible information about the presidential candidates. These choices are made having in mind the party shared common ideas and principles. This could be the reason third party presidential candidates are rarely successful considering the fact that there are two major political parties with the most popular ideologies in the country.

Third party candidates find it challenging to compete at the presidential level since the American Constitution does not provide a level field electoral process to encourage minor parties. According to Meltzer et al., (2004), it appears that the winner- takes- all system is exacerbated by the Electoral system since a presidential candidate with the highest fraction of votes gets all the electoral votes of the states. The regulations of the electoral systems tend to give more support to the two- party system, giving the third parties presidential candidate a hard time to compete effectively with the candidates of major parties in the campaign process.

Federal and State Authority

Gun control is growing issue of concern that boils over as the acts of gun violence increases in the society. The public, legislators, and gun lobbyists have for several decades debated the issue of gun control, and they have not yet derived a conclusive answer. According to Utter (2016), supporters of gun control have criticized the state and federal gun control acts for not doing enough, and gun rights advocates believe that the laws have gone too far.

According to Utter (2016), the question that arises whenever the government wants to regulate the activities of its citizens is who between the states and the federal government should do the regulating. There is no clear directive for regulating firearms at the state and federal level. More likely, the second amendment of the U.S constitutional is used by the opponents to debate the issue of gun control but has not necessarily determined the outcome of the debate (Utter, 2016). It appears that there are no clear political will or constitutional guide for Legislature or the Supreme Court to influence the decision that gun control will be the exclusive jurisdiction of either the state or the federal government (Utter, 2016).

Given the resources available for applying current regulations of gun control, it is difficult to make a strong stance for one level of government over the other (Utter, 2016). In other words, there is no clear decree to be followed to grant either the state or the federal government distinctive responsibility for gun control. The application of the cooperative federal-state approach of gun control offers an opportunity to the federal government to take the necessary measures where uniform control is desirable, and the states to further support the federal government if they wish to go beyond the measures of the federal government. Hopefully, this method will lead to an enhanced understanding of the mutual responsibilities for both the federal and state government to effectively control the gun use and reduce gun violence.

References

Meltzer, T., Levy, P., & Princeton Review (Firm). (2004). Cracking the AP. New York: Random House.

Struglinski, S., & Friedman, L. (2011). Almanac of the unelected staff of the U.S. Congress: 2011. Lanham, Md: Bernan Press.

Utter, G. H. (2016). Guns and contemporary society: The past, present, and future of firearms and firearm policy.

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