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Legislate without doing business

OPINION: The fact that specifically legislators are those who take advantage of their prerogatives as senators, federal deputies, or local congressmen to make a profit supposes a clear conflict of interest, which could also constitute a violation of the law
File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
18/06/2017
10:30
Mexico City
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The fact that any public official uses their job position to obtain any economic benefit or of any kind is totally reprehensible, in addition, to go against all ethics, and should be sanctioned in just proportion to end today-reigning impunity and stop these practices once and for all in this country.

However, the fact that specifically legislators - who design, vote and approve or discard the laws that govern us - are those who take advantage of their prerogatives as senators, federal deputies, or local congressmen to make a profit - get a tender, benefit in a certain sector by the design of laws, just as this case, omit to legislate something that society clearly demands -, supposes a clear conflict of interest, which could also constitute a violation of the law.

For example, as far as the current federal administration goes, over one billion pesos were billed to the government of Enrique Pena Nieto by 23 companies of federal legislators. The business network covers the Congresses of the states, in which seven companies also obtained contracts for almost 790 million pesos, based on public information reviewed by this dairy.

In this context, over the last 10 years, at least - in 2007, 2011 and 2013 -, the Congress has stopped a constitutional reform to prevent federal or state legislators to carry out businesses under the shadow of political power.

This does not mean that it is absolutely incompatible to be a legislator and an entrepreneur at the same time, of course. However, it is obvious that one should not mix one activity with the other: use the position of legislator to have advantages, contracts.

It is clear that the Congress of the Union and the Chambers of Deputies of the States are comfortable in the opacity, as shown by the fact that only one out of four legislators published their declaration of interests in the citizen platform 3de3.mx; or that only 3% of state Congresses have rules to avoid conflicts of interest of their members. Something outrageous, since we are talking about an issue that should not even have to be discussed since respecting the laws should be, for those who design them, a matter of minimum congruence.

It is reprehensible that the Congress of the Union opposes having controls that prevent and sanction carrying out business in the shadow of the responsibility to legislate. The federal power should be pressured to force it to establish clear rules as soon as possible.

It is not understood why in times of openness, transparency and accountability for all entities that exercise public resources, after great efforts at the federal level and after the creation of the National Anti-Corruption System, the Legislative Power in our country has to be the exception to the rule.
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