President Barack Obama blamed “poorly designed” laws allowing for money transfers worldwide following the release of the so-called Panama Papers.  The US Treasury is now issuing new rules to stop American companies from avoiding US taxes.  Multiple news media outlets published articles on Sunday after 11.5 million leaked documents from a Panama law firm called Mossack Fonseca.  The law firm helped some of the world’s wealthiest people establish offshore bank accounts.

Public officials are supposed to be just that: public. 

When they deal with public tax dollars, everything should be transparent.  When you hold office, everything you do should be transparent.  If you’re not doing anything wrong, then why would you care to begin with?

Some have been caught with their hand in the cookie jar.  

What’s new about that?  I only say that in jest: I didn’t need these documents to know that.  They back up what I've believed all along.

Though no American politicians have been named (yet), in the United States, public officials should be transparent while they hold public office.  But what they do in their private life is their business.

I don’t agree that every candidate should turn over their tax returns when they run for president.  When you’re not holding public office, you’re entitled to the same rights as every other citizen.

Now, once you become President, yes.  From that point on, everything you do should be transparent.  You've signed a contract with the American people when you hold that office.  You have the public’s trust.  You have to be transparent from the point you hold public office until you no longer do.  When you’re no longer in office, you should be treated as a regular citizen of this country.

You should be well-aware of this before heading into a campaign.  Nobody is making you run. Therefore, you have to abide by the rules after you run.  

These are the stakes, this is what you give up to become a public official in this country.   

-Jesse Ventura


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