Saturday, May 8, 2010

Carlucci Indirectly Calls Out The Carlyle Group

Former Carlyle Group Chairman Frank Carlucci penned a commentary published in the DetroitNews. It states:

Firms have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize profits, while increasing competition. A public good is not in their rational self-interest. They will therefore naturally seek to influence government regulation in ways that strengthen their competitive advantage relative to other firms.

At the same time, politicians rely on millions of dollars in private contributions to win and keep their seats. To raise the necessary funds, incumbents naturally solicit the firms and other interest groups with business before their committees in a system of pay-to-play.

The price we pay for this unhappy alliance between private special interests and government regulators is tens of billions of taxpayer dollars in the form of earmarks, wasteful spending programs, and other market inefficiencies that undermine competition.

I know of only one way to fundamentally address this conflict-of-interest problem: citizen-funded elections.

Carlucci knows this pattern well. The Carlyle Group excelled in "pay-to-play," so much so that it now pays to make investigations go away.

There's more than one way to address the conflict-of-interest problem, but citizen funded elections sounds like a decent start.

I would be happy if leaders publicly declared conflicts of interest. So few do...