Issue One Advisory Board member and former chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush asked Hillary Clinton the only question that matters in the discussion about the Clinton Foundation: Do you really want to be president?
In his New York Times column, Richard Painter reminds leaders, advocates and everyday Americans alike that he has encountered ethical situations similar to this during his vetting of prospective administration officials.
It boils down to this from his piece:
“…I asked many prospective administration officials if they would sell stock in companies, give up stock options, step down from nonprofit boards or make other painful choices to enter public service …”
Painter reminds us that running for the highest office in the country — the de facto leader of the free world — is first and foremost a public service position. Candidates ask the public to place their trust in their decision-making, character and judgement.
But even beyond the White House, our elected office-holders and their advisers are, and should, be held to the highest standards of ethics as they pursue a career serving their constituents. They should be willing to make sacrifices, both personal and professional, to avoid even the perception of corruption for the chance to represent the country.