HomeArticlesWhy background checks for Political Candidates?

Why background checks for Political Candidates?

Why do employers require background checks?

Employers want to be sure that they’re hiring the person the applicant says he/she is and that the applicant is eligible to work in the US. So why shouldn’t we have background checks for political candidates?

About 92-96% of employers require background checks for new hires. This is not only to control risk but also to ensure that their employees and customers are safe from harm. Companies want to ensure job seekers are honest about their backgrounds and certifications.

We wonder why there are so few background checks for politicians.

Why are background checks a good idea for political candidates?

US Congress

With the debacle of US Representative George Santos, I think it’s becoming more obvious why we need background checks for politicians. For US Congressmen (Senators and Representatives), the Constitution lays out only a few requirements for office. They relate to age, citizenship, and residency. No state can impose additional requirements on these offices.

For example, term limits for Congress are not included in the Constitution. It follows that states cannot decide that they want to impose term limits on their Senators or Representatives. When a number of states tried this in the nineties, it was found to be unconstitutional. This is why background checks cannot be required. In addition, it is NOT practical to have a recall vote for wayward Congressmen.

Opposition research and the media?

As you know, Santos has shown that we can’t rely on the research of the opposition or the media to keep us informed prior to elections. Transparency In Politics offers candidates the opportunity to order a specified background check on themselves. They can review it, and if they feel comfortable, have it posted on the TIP website. For this and a signed set of disclosures, they will be awarded the TIP Certification Seal.

State and Local Offices

For more information on why background checks are a good idea according to a former FBI expert in security, read the article by Barry McManus, former CIA chief interrogator and polygrapher.

When someone files to run for office in Nevada, the Washoe Registrar of Voters does very little verification of credentials. The same goes for the office of the Secretary of State. In addition, they must present an ID and pay the filing fee. If they do not live in the right area, this is called to their attention. But the Registrar of Voters CANNOT deny anyone the right to file if they present their ID and pay the filing fee. In the case of Transparency In Politics, our PeopleTrail background check would verify their education, residency, licensing if applicable, criminal history, military service, etc. Please note: this is not a credit check or a social media inquiry.

For an explanation of why candidates are not required to have a background check, read the blog post History of Background Checks and Elected Officials.

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