I would like to take this opportunity to nominate a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize for next year. I don’t know the person’s name, but it’s the junior ethics staff member that unwittingly leaked an ethics report to the press (to say nothing of the individual at the Washington Post who sucked the report off the staff member’s home computer). You have to applaud this person’s ignorance of computer networks and file-sharing software. We are now aware that “dozens of lawmakers have drawn scrutiny from their ethics monitor this year for everything from financial dealings to travel and campaign donations, according to a leaked account showing an active House panel secretly at work. Seven of the lawmakers — four not previously known — serve on a defense appropriations subcommittee that divvies up money for Pentagon contractors.” The fact that members of Congress – especially those who have links to the Pentagon – are being investigated for ethics violations is, unfortunately, nothing new. That the Pentagon is not being investigated is also, unfortunately, nothing new. So, why the Nobel Peace Prize? Because now the recording industry is getting involved. According to the Associate Press report, “the Recording Industry Association of America said the disclosure was evidence of a need for controls on peer-to-peer software to block the improper or illegal exchange of music. Some lawmakers have tried for years to bring this about. Mitch Bainwol, the group’s chairman and chief executive officer, said, ‘It’s now happening (in) Congress’ backyard, and that should be a powerful catalyst to enact real reforms to protect consumers.’”
Think about it. One leaked report could help to maintain the linkages between Congress and rich, powerful special interests, and the recording industry’s control over cultural production. If that’s not worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize, then maybe this next piece of information will make you reconsider. The junior ethics staff member was fired for his incompetence, and it’s unlikely that his lack of computer skills will help in landing him another job. I’m thinking he could use the prize money.