As a former federal employee, I've always been mindful, not only of avoiding corruption, but of avoiding the appearance of corruption. It's not always easy to do that. Although I was entrusted with the care of a significant amount of taxpayer money, I was once swept up in a financial scandal which threatened to topple the pile of files on my desk. It's true I investigated the scandal myself and reported my heinous misdeed to my boss in a public meeting, disgracing myself forever. I'm not proud of my crime--making an emergency $3.84 long distance phone call to a relative when my mother was ill. I couldn't get away to a private phone and made the cold, calculated decision to make the call on the public dime. Needless to say, I repaid my debt in full and a letter of reprimand appeared in my personnel file.
So I have a bit of criminality in common with Senator Chris Dodd, whose wife received an annual stipend from AIG, and who got cheap loans from bankrupt Countrywide Bank, and who failed to report on his federal taxes the gift he received of a mansion in Ireland. We're birds of a criminal feather, we are, Senator Dodd and I.
Neither of us belongs in government. I resigned in late 1999, taking an early out and a reduced pension. Now if only Senator Dodd would do the same.