[Vision2020] conflict of interest

Melynda Huskey mghuskey at msn.com
Tue Aug 3 08:42:54 PDT 2004

Jim raises an interesting and important point in distinguishing between 
ideological and financial conflict of interest.  What becomes complex, I 
think, is working out the difference between the two.

Here's a hypothetical case: an elected official also holds the position of 
President of the Chamber of Commerce.  That might not constitute a 
*financial* conflict of interest.  But what if the President appeared to use 
his position to employ and benefit members of his own church 
disproportionately--maybe hiring them at the expense of more qualified 
non-church members, and promoting the businesses owned by his church members 
more assiduously than those of non-members?  He personally might not benefit 
directly or financially from these practices, but his church would.  And if 
he were also employed by the church, say as a land agent, while he was 
serving both as an elected official and as the President of the Chamber, 
would that not further complicate matters?  His financial situation might 
well be impacted by his employment, which would give him greater reason to 
promote church-related businesses.  And if his church sent out campaign 
notices for him from the church office, and distributed yard signs for him 
and solicited donations for him?

And what if most of this, including his offer to submit himself and his 
office to church elders' oversight, is not generally known to the voting 
public?  Perhaps no laws were broken--but were citizens given adequate, fair 

Melynda Huskey

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