Joe Biden’s Ethics Plan Aims To Restore ‘We The People’ Mantra In Government

Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event on October 9, 2019 in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Scott Eisen / Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden released his ethics plan Monday, which outlines how he aims to create a government that “works for the people.”

The announcements outlines the five specific goals that comprise his plan: reduce the influence of money in politics; restore integrity to the U.S. Department of Justice and Executive Branch decision-making; return ethics in government; take control of financial conflicts of interest in the Executive Branch; and focus on increasing the accountability of lobbyists and the lobbied.

Biden’s plan comes in the wake of the Ukraine scandal, in which Donald Trump allegedly pressured Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to uncover damaging information on Biden and his son, Hunter. The scandal sparked an impeachment probe into Trump, and since its announcement, the president has attacked Biden for his family’s alleged corruption in Ukraine. In his ethics plan, Biden’s takes direct aim at Trump’s White House, calling it the “most corrupt administration in modern history,” and outlines the various ways he plans to maintain an ethical administration should he be elected president.

“We must elect leaders with integrity, for whom the public interest is paramount,” reads Biden’s plan. “But that’s not enough. We also must strengthen our laws to ensure that no future president can ever again use the office for personal gain. The federal government’s power must be used to better the country, and not in service of narrow, private interests. ”

One of Biden’s proposals to reduce the corrupting influence of money in politics is to introduce a constitutional amendment that removes private money from federal elections. With this amendment in place, a candidate for federal office would need to acquire campaign funding from public sources, which Biden’s campaign believes will eliminate “outside spending” that is allegedly “distorting the election process.”

Americans should decide American elections. Period. pic.twitter.com/oc5HavIiuf

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 10, 2019

The comprehensive plan also takes aim at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) under Trump, suggesting that the president is using the DOJ to attack his political opponents and protect himself from oversight and investigation. According to the plan, Trump has “weaponized the DOJ” to take aim at laws such as the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

To combat this purported lack of integrity, Biden’s plan proposes to prevent the president or White House from improperly interfering in the decisions tied to federal investigations and prosecutions, ensure that the DOJ’s decision-making is transparent and accessible to the public, and provide the DOJ with the power to enforce necessary laws, among other things.

Although Trump’s attacks on Biden’s alleged corruption in Ukraine are reportedly unsubstantiated, Jonathan Turley, the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, suggests that the media’s dismissiveness of potential corruption in the Biden family is not a good look.

“…There is no reason why the media cannot pursue allegations against both the Trumps and the Bidens,” he wrote in an op-ed for The Hill.