Criminal Background of Politicians- How far Transparency and Injustice are going to be a part of our lives?

Criminal Background of Politicians- How far Transparency and Injustice are going to be a part of our lives?

The US Constitution states that members of the Senate and House should meet three requirements:

  • All house members must be at least 25 years old, and Senate members must be at least 30 years old.
  • House members should have been a U.S. citizen for at least seven years, and Senate members should have been a U.S. citizen for at least nine years.
  • The candidate should be an “inhabitant” of the state “when elected.”

It is possible for a crime convicted candidate to work in the U.S. (Congress) – but the House and Senate can decide to expel any member that colleagues consider incapable or unfit to serve. The criteria for state-level office are defined by state law. In Texas, for example, barring a clemency or other, formal “judicial release” from felon standing, an individual sentenced for a felony cannot run for public office, even though he or she may be capable of voting. To decide whether you are suitable to run for or hold public office (there has been at least one occurrence in which a person has been permitted to run, but not hold elected office), verify with your state’s secretary of state’s office.

In Brazil, politicians sentenced of certain enumerated crimes, including corruption-related misdemeanors, are banned for eight years according to a 2009 bill (which had been celebrated by civil society groups). In Canada, those convicted for unethical acts must wait seven years from the date of conviction before they can contest for the House of Commons (the limit for those convicted of other crimes is five years). In France, courts have the option to impose, as part of the criminal conviction, a period of up to ten years during which the offender may not vote or run for public office. Other countries, like Finland and Denmark, give the matter up to the parliament, which can vote to bar someone convicted of a crime showing untrustworthiness or unfitness for a public position.

Disqualification may seem anti-democratic, for similar grounds as those raised regarding other eligibility restrictions, such as age-of-candidacy laws and term limits. What democracy needs for the right to run is by no means settled, though most countries, including the United States, have chosen some limitations based on determinants like age, place of birth, and residency.

As unfair as it sounds, it makes people consider that convicted candidates shouldn’t run the office. They say, it isn’t a wise concept to have people convicted of criminal acts exist in politics, as many politicians are corrupt as it is. So why should we believe a person who has already been caught doing illegal activity? If crime means “crime” as in “felony offense” they shouldn’t be permitted to run for office, misdemeanor charges like DWI or shoplifting aren’t a big deal though.

Holding a Federal Office is a privilege. Only someone who has the best plans for the public should be eligible.  Since a felony includes serious crimes, including corruption, fraud, rape, and murder, it would raise the issue of whether we want someone recently convicted of a serious crime to be making important policy decisions for us and representing us in Federal Office.

Also, if an individual who was currently serving a sentence was permitted to run for office, and selected, the person’s morals and intentions would have to be suspected, because this individual may still be inclined to accepting bribes or committing other crimes in order to obtain personal benefits that may be detrimental to society. However, many may still consider these individuals should be given a chance to run, because, if they are terrible, then they would never be elected. The main problem with this reasoning is the fact that it doesn’t account for the deceptive nature of individuals.

Those who genuinely want to be elected will not highlight their weaknesses and will try to tell the population what they want to hear to get selected, as do most politicians.

What’s your take on this? Should a politician, who has been formerly convicted of a crime, be allowed to run for office?

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