Editorial roundup


The Blade, May 14

What is Bob McDonnell doing in front of the U.S. Supreme Court?

As governor of Virginia, McDonnell did some things that could be called corrupt. They were certainly ugly. But he was governor of Virginia. The corruption, if it was corruption, of the governor of Virginia is a matter for the people and government of Virginia …

The case is now in front of the Supreme Court. The government argues that arranging those meetings qualified as “official acts” that, under federal law, a state official may not agree to perform in exchange for a gift. McDonnell’s lawyers argue that “official acts” are more narrowly defined, and that the “honest services” law under which he was charged (which also applies to business executives) is unconstitutionally vague.

But whether the court throws out that law or not, Congress should take a look at the issue …

Congress should make clear that the only people federal law prohibits from accepting bribes, and the only people federal law prohibits bribing, are federal officials. It should get out of regulating the ethics of state officials and leave that to the states …

People in state government should be able to guide their actions by state ethics rules, which can be made as broad or specific as each state sees fit.

Online: http://bit.ly/1simQoE

The Canton Repository, May 13

Imagine the predicament in which thousands of retired workers found themselves in recent years. They worked decades, some nearly their entire adult lives, paid into a pension fund and finally got a chance to retire and collect the fruits of their labor – only to be told that the safety net they helped build and which they counted on would be cut and cut significantly …

Traditionally, a retiree’s pension benefits have been off limits in the United States. In 2014, though, a significant change to the law began to unravel that covenant. The Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 allows multiemployer pension plans – those that cover workers of multiple companies in the same industry – to address projected shortfalls by not only cutting the future benefits of active workers but also those of current retirees …

This, in a microcosm, is why many people on both sides of the political aisle feel so disenchanted with Congress. It should have brought the people who matter the most to the table and debated alternative solutions to the problem, such as providing more funding to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the federal agency responsible for guaranteeing private pensions.

Now members of Congress likely will be forced to do the work they should have done in the first place.

Online: http://bit.ly/2566QrS

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