Reforming, Top Down

The fact that Republicans lost their credibility with the American public on matters of ethics and corruption is no secret, but what still confounds the Party leadership is that we’ve yet to be miraculously forgiven for our many, many indiscretions.

In an email today to all 168 voting members of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele, former Chairman of GOPAC and contender for the RNC Chairman, released his ethics package and proposed the creation of an “Ethical Review Committee.”  The committee, whose stated purpose is to create an ethics pseudo-contract to ensure Republican elected officials will abide by the “highest ethical standards,” will be staffed entirely by current RNC members.

Steele writes:

In addition to losing credibility as the reliable representatives of conservative principles, we Republicans are increasingly seen as challenged on issues of ethics and morality.

The conduct of our leaders should always be beyond reproach. As Party Chairman, I will stand up against those who abuse their public trust. I will assure the RNC leads by example. (Steele’s emphasis)

In a notable attempt to root out future unsavory Republicans – Duke Cunningham, Ted Stevens, Don Young – Steele proposed an embargo on all Party resources for incumbent elected officials who have been convicted on felony charges. In addition to the bar on resources, Steele’s plan calls for ending the RNC-dictated “preferred venders” program, a directive he alleges “diminishes our ethical standing, threatens our credibility with donors, injures the talented professionals who are doing good work, and harms our ability to win.”

To date, Steele is the only candidate to propose such an strict ethics agenda, however MIGOP Chairman Saul Anuzis released his 24-page tech-centric vision for the Party today. Given the relative silence from the remaining candidates, Steele’s proposal stands to position him as the reformer of the bunch — a position I’m sure he appreciates after the Blagojevich fall-out.

Steele’s full “Blueprint for Tomorrow” can be read HERE (PDF).

Cross-posted at Skepticians.com