3 Politicians Who Need an Image Reboot

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is having an excellent week, having just won his reelection campaign in a tight race. President Barack Obama has had a strong week in approval polls after a particularly tense interaction with Republicans in Congress over nuclear talks with Iran. Allstate/National Journal’s Heartland Monitor Poll reports that his job approval rating is higher than it’s been in almost two years.

Some politicians have not been having quite the same week, however. The last few weeks have been unfortunate periods for a number of politicians facing scandal, political attacks, and varying degrees of well-deserved comeuppance. Let’s take a look at three politicians in particular who most of us would not want to be — or even work in the office of — this week.

1. Former Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.)

The former House Representative stepped down from his position at the end of March following the publication of inappropriate spending habits, with expenses in the tens of thousands, according to Politico. These included personal gas bills paid for by Congress, a “Downton Abbey” redecoration of his office discussed by The Washington Post last month, and money spent on a flight to a sports game, as well as a number of other questionable cases of spending.

[T]he constant questions over the last six weeks have proven a great distraction that has made it too difficult for me to serve the people of the 18th District with the high standards that they deserve and which I have set for myself,” said Schock to Politico upon his resignation Tuesday. “I have always sought to do what’s best for my constituents, and I thank them for the opportunity to serve.”

2. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

The email fiasco from Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State has come back to bite her as she prepares for a potential 2016 presidential campaign. The timing is hardly ideal; and the criticism has been extended and continual. Some argue that if she’d been more proactive in handling accusations, she wouldn’t be dealing with the onslaught that’s occurred, but regardless, she’s been forced to discuss her method of contact during her time in the position repeatedly.

The scandal bubbled up over Clinton’s use of her own personal email address in her professional communications, with the email stored on a personal server as well. This brought about concerns over whether or not she was purposefully concealing correspondences, or intentionally making it easier to retain certain emails from government records. Clinton, in interviews, has explained that there was no rule against her using her own email, and that it is the responsibility left up to each government employee to turn over their communications, which is what she says she did in full, including making these correspondences open to the public. She has said that while, now, she sees it would have been easier to just take a government email instead, the inconvenience wasn’t something she recognized at the time.

Some — including former Founding Director of the Justice Department’s Office of Information and Privacy, Dan Metcalfe — don’t buy this argument, stating that it “makes an enormous (and highly forseeable) difference to the proper implementation of the Freedom of Information Act,” to have “the official availability of official email communications.” While he admits it wasn’t directly illegal, Metcalfe doesn’t buy her insistence that she was not intentionally concealing emails. “No matter what Secretary Clinton would have one believe, she managed successfully to insulate her official emails … perhaps forever,” he said in his op-ed for Politico Magazine.

3. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)

Let me be very clear — very clear: I have always conducted myself appropriately and in accordance with the law,” said Sen. Menendez in early March. When a politician has to start a press conference with a statement like that, you know it’s bad news. “Every action that I and my office have taken for the last 23 years that I have been privileged to be in the United States Congress has been based on pursuing the best policies for the people of New Jersey and of this entire country,” he said, according to NPR. He also stated that he had no plans to resign.

This speech followed the announcement from the U.S. Department of Justice that it would be charging Sen. Menendez with corruption for providing political favors from Salomon Melgen, an eye doctor from Florida who has donated a great deal to him over the years, and who he’s rushed to support politically a number of times. On April 1, the Justice Department indicted Menendez on corruption charges, the first criminal charges filed against a sitting U.S. senator since the bungled prosecution of Alaska’s Ted Stevens in 2008. In a subsequent press conference, Menendez again claimed he had done nothing wrong and was “outraged” by the charges.

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