We call it the ethics stimulus package

Cash can lead to ethical abuses.The names all sound familiar.

Rod Blagojevich, John Edwards, Elliot Spitzer, Ted Stephens, Alberto Gonzales, Karl Rove, Lewis Libby, Dick Cheney, Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, William Jefferson, Jack Abramoff, Bill Clinton and William Jefferson.

The list could be lots longer. Each person has one thing in common. All were touched by political scandal related to their ethics.

Tom Madden, the CEO of Transmedia Group in Boca Raton, is calling for all public officials to attend ethics college and in some cases, ethic rehab.

"If we had an ethics stimulus package maybe the economic stimulus package wouldn't be so necessary," Madden said. "If we had some controls and people had acted honestly and fairly maybe we would not have this crisis that is ripping our country apart."

Madden's firm specializes in crisis management.

"The best way to avoid the crisis in confidence sweeping over local and Federal government is to teach and then remind public officials to operate within a moral framework," Madden said. The firm is urging local universities to establish courses in ethics for public officials.

"To do right, first you have to know what's right and wrong and then practice operating ethically," he said. Just like lawyers and real estate agents, public officials need to take refresher courses in ethics. When they stumble, they should enter an "ethics rehab." Madden's most recent article on training executives how to conduct themselves was just published in PR News Media Training Guidebook, Volume 2 by PR News.

Believing these courses could be taken online as well at area universities, the PR firm has registered the Internet domains:

  • www.ethicscollege.com
  • www.ethicsrehab.com
  • www.moralcollege.com
  • www.moralteaching.com
  • The domains are not yet setup as Web sites

The company is offering to give the Internet domains to any institution of learning that would develop an appropriate ethics curriculum for public officials, particularly those regulating the banking industry, whose ethical shortcomings have caused widespread economic hardship.

About the names

  • Rod Blagojevich - The Illinois governor currently charged with selling Barack Obama's senate seat to the highest bidder.
  • John Edwards - A presidential candidate who admitted an extramarital affair while his wife was being treated for cancer.
  • Elliot Spitzer - A former New York Governor. He resigned after admitting using high priced call girls.
  • Ted Stephens - A senator from Alaska. He accepted payments from government vendors for improvements to his home.
  • Alberto Gonzales - A former U.S. Attorney General in the Bush Administration. He wrote legal memorandums about standards for torture used at Guantanamo Bay's infamous prison.
  • Karl Rove - An aide to President George W. Bush who was involved with Lewis Libby in illegally disclosing the name of a covert CIA operative.
  • Lewis Libby - An aide to Vice President Dick Cheney. He pleaded guilty to federal perjury charges.
  • Dick Cheney -The Vice President revealed the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame to columnist Robert Novak.
  • Tom DeLay - The former U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader resigned because of his ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
  • Jack Abramoff - A former lobbyist. He pled guilty to federal charges of defrauding American Indian tribes and corruption of public officials.
  • William Jefferson - A Louisiana congressman under investigation on bribery charges. He hid $90,000 in cash in his freezer.
  • Bill Clinton - Only the second president to be impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. He was not convicted by the U.S. Senate, but many people contend he lied in a deposition to a federal grand jury.
  • Randy "Duke" Cunningham - Congressman Cunningham pleaded guilty to accepting at least $2.4 million in bribes and under reporting his income for 2004. He pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud, and tax evasion.

You may have your own ideas about who should be included on the list. Submit them here.