System Failures

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The Albany Times Union gives New York Governor Eliot Spitzer a bit of a slap upside the head for the way he's handling a contract for who will run the state's racetracks -- and all four competitors have donated to his campaign. Spitzer has been an ardent proponent of ethics reform, and full public financing of campaigns so it's good example of an official who, though clearly devoted to overhauling the system, must contend with major conflicts of interest.

Here's the key bit:


No, there's nothing illegal about this arrangement, deciding which campaign contributor ought to win such a coveted reward. But it hardly requires illegality for something about the way government operates to be inappropriate.

In advocating a ban on contributions from those who do business, or are soliciting business, with the state the paper doesn't shun Spitzer outright -- rather it expresses a disenchantment with him, and with the system as a whole, where our campaign finance system leads to these inevitable conflicts of interest.