High Crimes and Misdemeanors

Member Group : Lincoln Institute

I’ve had it!

After hijacking our nation and our citizens for the past two and half years, the Mueller Report on the collusion of President Trump, his campaign and the Russians has ended with no discernible evidence of collusion and no decision on obstruction of justice.  According to Atty. Gen. Barr, the report will be released in mid April 2019.

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, James Comey and others have held our nation hostage since the 2016 election. Someone must pay for this attempted overthrow of the government of the United States or the very fabric of our Republic will be torn to shreds.

Decisions by government leaders have a profound effect on our Nation.   Accountability by public officials is nonexistent and that must end!

No matter what the topic, it seems as if offending public officials are given a pass and the citizens pay for this malfeasance. This lack of accountability must stop.

Be it the debate the Mueller investigation, or on record shattering deficits, unfunded pension obligations, and virtually unlimited increases in health care costs, intelligence community and FBI overreach, the truth must be known and the guilty must be prosecuted.

That elected officials are passing on tough decisions to future generations is irresponsible and embarrassing.  The disastrous unintended consequences of financial decisions by elected leaders makes them all that more responsible for their actions.  Governments, however, are loath to make elected officials accountable for their decisions.

It is absurd to think that the public is better served merely because an elected leader destroys our economy and our lives versus destroying a business.  People’s lives have been held hostage for over two years and the nation was never permitted the pleasure of celebrating a restoration of free markets and less government intervention because of the psychological narcissism of someone who lost the presidential election and the deep states preoccupation with preserving itself at our expense.

The irresponsibility of the fraud perpetrated on the American people which triggered the Mueller Investigation, unfunded health insurance bill, unfunded social security mandates, unfunded pension obligations, unfunded employee medical plans, unsubstantiated and unwarranted pork, and record deficit spending all contribute to the potential bankrupting of our Nation and our way of life.

Rightfully, the Enron, WorldCom and other business scandals caused a public outcry and led to the passing of the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act. Sarbanes-Oxley was intended to improve governance and reduce the likelihood of fraud. It made certain actions by Chief Financial Officers, Chief Executive Officers and Board members subject to criminal prosecution.

In light of the clamor of unfounded Trump collusion, it is shocking that government has never held itself responsible to the public for its actions.  Our nation spent untold resources to placate the ego of a fallen politician and a deep state threatened with its own existence.  We were almost overthrown as a government.

Because of the government’s failure to regulate itself, I propose a bill to protect the American people from improper actions by elected leaders.   Such a bill would establish the same type of trust and accountability upon elected officials as we have come to expect of business leaders.

The Public Responsibility and Trust Act (PRATA), if enacted, would require elected officials in the Executive Branch, the House of Representatives, and the Senate, as well as political appointees, to be held to same standard of financial and ethical responsibility that they demand of leaders in business.  Such a bill would weaponize the High Crimes and Misdemeanor clause of the U. S. Constitution in Article II, Section 4 and expand the scope for accountability of elected and senior appointed officials to the people of the Republic.

The PRATA would require that, in case of conviction or proven liability, any improper or fraudulent actions by elected officials be dealt with personally and paid for from their own assets.   Those assets would have already been disclosed in the ethics filings required by these people.

Such improper actions would include

  • Misuse of office and violation of the public trust,
  • Self-dealing and “insider trading” on information gleaned while in office,
  • Failing to account for public funds and passing unfunded mandates,
  • Using public funds for any financial supporter to a candidate’s campaign without a full ethics disclosure and review,
  • Failing to implement a system of internal controls over financial reporting of government entities (the Federal Government cannot produce a balance sheet!!)
  • Waste, fraud and abuse to include pork type projects without a cost-benefit analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.

Finally, annually PRATA would require the President, Vice President, all political appointees, members of the House of Representatives and the Senate to certify that they have complied with the provisions of this Act.

If you find this demand harsh, it is merely the same certification required of corporate executives and physicians in this Nation today under the Sarbanes-Oxley Bill and medical reimbursement systems.

If prison is appropriate for Bernie Madoff, it is a proper destination for those who abuse the public trust!  The nation has not been well served by people whose only risk is to be voted out of office.

Frank Ryan, CPA, USMCR (Ret) represents the 101st District in the PA House of Representatives.  He is a retired Marine Reserve Colonel, a CPA and specializes in corporate restructuring.  He has served on numerous boards of publicly traded and non-profit organizations.  He can be reached at [email protected]