11/20/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Invitations to Corruption By American Leadership

Two headlines last week in the New York Times, each a worry in its own right, but taken together should set off your alarms:

"Bush Aides Say Religious Hiring Doesn't' Bar (Federal) Aid"

"Federal Leap Into Banking Has Its Perils - In the past, favoritism trumped innovation"

The first is a worry because it continues the Bush attack on the founding fathers' separation of church and state (one big reason why the fathers fled the mother country) and enables Fed funding of organizations that discriminate in ways that are illegal for anyone else.

The second is a worry because it describes an invitation to corruption in a major domestic program (as if we haven't had enough in other programs like food stamps, retirement funds and oil regulation).

But taken together, we have a Republican (!) administration extending the power of the purse like bunch of socialists into our business, community activities and personal matters with its own agenda of whom and what to favor. Not that a Democratic administration in 2009 would have any less power to do this.

One of my relatives oversees an anti-corruption organization located here in the U.S., but focused on transparency in procurement abroad to provide a bribe-free, crony-free, level playing field in the interests of foreign nationals whose tax dollars are beings pent and the interest of U.S. companies who compete for national programs and projects (bribes used to be tax deductible in some European countries!). Without an active press, she would not have been able to foster progress.

Where is the U.S. media attention and exploration of how to safeguard the interests of the public from corruption and cronyism?