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Keller @ Large: Ethics Law May Seem Unfair, But It’s Necessary

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Dan Wolf. (Facebook photo)

Dan Wolf. (Facebook photo)

WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) – The folks down the Cape who Senator Dan Wolf represents seem to like him well enough; they’ve elected him twice, the last time without an opponent.

And he seems to be exactly the type of person we want to see serving in public office, successful businessman, community activist and family man with a squeaky-clean record.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

So I’m sympathetic to Wolf’s anguish over having to relinquish his senate seat and probably end his run for governor because of an ethics commission ruling that he’ll have to give up his part-ownership of Cape Air in order to stay in elective politics, because he wields power over Logan Airport policies that affect his airline.

Wolf has a point when he suggests that the state law cited by the commission is a serious deterrent to businesspeople entering politics. In his resignation statement he invokes Thomas Jefferson’s vision of a government run by farmers setting aside their plows to serve the public before returning to private life.

But maybe Wolf should also reflect a bit on how far we’ve strayed from Jefferson’s model, and on his own role in that change.

Wolf, like many of his peers, is an advocate of expansive government, of single-payer (i.e. government-run) health-care, and his business receives millions in government subsidies to serve less-populated areas. The era of rapid government expansion and the growth of public- and private-sector entanglement right along with it has made conflicts of financial interest by powerful pols more common, and more dangerous.

That’s why we have laws like the one that is hampering Wolf’s political career.

It does seem unfair, he’s done nothing wrong.

But he could turn his Cape Air holdings over to a family member and stay in office, yet doesn’t want to.

That’s his choice.

So are the positions he’s taken that fuel the big government the ethics law is designed to police.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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