The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday May 28th

A troubling trend

Unfortunately, former U.S. Rep. Frank Ballance's tale of corruption serves to strengthen the notion that public servants can't be trusted.

It is a sad state of affairs when members of the U.S. Congress defraud the very citizens whom they are elected to represent.

Politicians are supposed to be servants of their constituents, and personal gain should be a distant second to that primary duty.

Frank Ballance, a former Democratic U.S. congressman from the 1st District, ignored such a principle. He pled guilty Tuesday to using a charitable foundation as a means of channeling money to his law firm, family and church.

He deserves the maximum sentence allowed by the law, as his actions only add to the growing distrust of American politics and politicians. A number of the nation's leaders of every political stripe have shown themselves to be selfish and irresponsible because of shady financial dealings.

Ballance pled guilty to a federal count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering, According to The Associated Press, the convictions could net him five years in prison, a quarter of a million dollars in fines and three years of supervision after release.

The former representative's lawyer told the AP that Ballance has only accepted culpability for a small portion of what might have been as much as $2.3 million in state money channeled since 1994 through a foundation he ran.

The charitable organization supposedly helped poor people reform following drug and alcohol abuse.

When criminal behavior lurks within the nation's governing bodies, perhaps Americans should stop and assess the situation.

Of course, not all politicians are petty and crooked - many of them work hard every day to serve the needs of their constituents.

But bad apples like Ballance rot the whole bunch. If politicians expect their constituents to trust and respect them, they must hold to a higher standard. Certainly, they shouldn't go about scamming the state.

The crooks make life difficult for the many politicians who work hard every day to serve the needs of their constituents. It's clear that the United States needs more of the latter type of leader.

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