Democratic Party members of the US Senate Judiciary Committee were surprised to learn that Republican Party staff members had been reading and sometimes leaking to the media their secret internal strategy memos. For over a year. (From the Boston Globe.)
A few months ago I wrote about Trust and Government. How do the people who work in our government expect their fellow citizens to trust their government, if they act unethically and show they can't even be trusted by their fellow staff?
Not only that, the people who thought this was ok were staff for senators who serve on the Judiciary Committee. Presumably these folks know a little bit about the law. Or at least they're supposed to. Even if their actions are not shown to be illegal once the investigation is complete, this behavior, for over a year, was clearly unethical.
And these are the people who are supposed to decide who gets appointed to federal courts. These are the people who choose our nation's most senior judges. Regardless of internal political struggles, these staffers should be setting a higher standard of ethics. They should be ashamed of themselves. And the United States Senators they work for, some of our most senior legislators, should also be ashamed.
Are they ashamed? Senator Orrin Hatch says he is "mortified." At least one staffer who may have been implicated is no longer with the Committee. That's the good news. The bad news? He got promoted: according to the article, he is now the "chief judicial nominee adviser in the Senate majority leader's office."
Now that's setting a higher standard for ethical behavior, and inspiring trust.