It’s hard to say that the government is less corrupt than private industry:
Carrie Lopez, director of the Department of Consumer Affairs, charged taxpayers to fly from Sacramento, where she works, to Los Angeles, where she lives, to attend a Justin Timberlake concert with her daughter. She listed the trip on her expense report as a meeting with the energy company that paid for the concert tickets. Lopez also billed the state for meals on days she received those meals for free from corporations, according to state records.That’s why increasing the size and scope of government is unlikely to do what so many hope it will do. As Walt Kelly put it, we have met the enemy, and he is us. There is little evidence that the wealthy are more corrupt than the poor or that business is less corrupt (and corrupting) than government. Madison does a nice job with this idea in Federalist 51.
Rosario Marin, head of the State and Consumer Services Agency, blamed a miscommunication for her failure to repay $582 the state spent to fly her to Washington in July to speak at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, an appearance for which she received $1,000. She reimbursed the state for the airfare after The Times inquired about the trip last month.
Over the last two years, as California has slashed services and scrambled to pay bills, top administration officials have made free use of government expense accounts with little oversight and, in some cases, no documentation, The Times has found.
Together, they have spent tens of thousands of dollars on state-funded trips between Sacramento and the areas where they live, justifying the travel as necessary for state business. Some built weekend trips around one short meeting, and some charged the state to attend events with no apparent connection to their jobs. . . .
"Is anybody at the wheel here?" said Michael Josephson, president of the nonprofit Josephson Institute of Ethics in Los Angeles.
"The best possible case for this, which is still not a good case, is [that] nobody is providing oversight. . . . The worst case is that you have some people who are knowingly taking advantage."