Thursday, May 19, 2011

ROL: The Truth

ROL is an abbreviation of the words Return on Life. ROL is the "live a fuller life" counterpart of the financial measure ROI. The concept of ROL is to make small, simple, incremental life changes that have to potential to pay off big time. This week's ROL is about telling the truth.
When it comes to the people you love, telling the truth is not an option. With those you love, the truth is the ONLY option. For those that think telling the truth may not always be simple. In response, let's take a look at a current news story:  Sen. John Ensign resigns his seat in mid-April before the results of a Senate ethics committee investigation were released.

Sen. Ensign (a married man) had an affair with Cynthia Hampton. Ms. Hampton worked for Senator Ensign's campaign and her husband was a staff member for Senator Ensign. The Hampton family was dependent solely on Senator Ensign for their livelihood. During the affair, Sen. Ensign listed Ms. Hampton as Aunt Judy on his cell phone. Sen. Ensign also set up email to connect with Ms. Hampton, as opposed to using his Senate account. Ms. Hampton wanted to end the affair. Senator Ensign did not want to end the affair. Ms. Hampton did not want her family to lose it's only source of income, (which included housing and private school tuition), therefore she continued the affair. Given his position as her de facto employer, it could be concluded that the coercive nature of the relationship constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace. Were this the only law broken it would be a very sad story. The harassment is only the tip of the iceberg.

Both Mr. Hampton and Mrs. Ensign learned of the affair.  Mr. Hampton quit his position on Ensign's staff and Mrs. Ensign had Cynthia Hampton fired. Mr. Hampton wanted significant restitution(it is illegal to pay severance to campaign staff). Sen. Tom Coburn became involved in smoothing things over for Sen. Ensign. Sen. Ensign's stepfather and mother paid $96,000 to Ms. Hampton. Mr. Hampton received a job with a lobbying firm(it is illegal for a former staffer to lobby their employer for a year).

Sen. Ensign denied the payments from his parents were severance and had his parents sign two prepared affidavits that stated the $96,000 was one of many gifts given to the Hamptons. Sen. Ensign had documents about the affair destroyed. Sen. Coburn stated that his conversations with Sen. Ensign were privileged based on Sen. Coburn being a licensed physician and a church deacon. Sen. Ensign steered clients to Mr. Hampton.
Mr. Hampton lobbied Sen. Ensign's office within the prohibited time period.

Mr. Hampton is indicted for violating federal statute for lobbying a former employer during the disallowed time frame. Cynthia Hampton has filed for divorce and bankruptcy. The Senate Ethics Committee report is released. The results have been forwarded to the US Dept. of Justice for possible criminal prosecution. It is possible that Sen. Ensign's parents and Senator Coburn will be investigated for violating federal law.

The moral is not about extra marital affairs. They happen and everyone has their own opinion about affairs. The moral neither indicts nor exonerates Sen. Ensign or Ms. Hampton for their choice of extracurricular activity. The moral goes back to telling the truth.
I can't imagine it's easy or fun to tell your spouse you are having sex with someoone else. I expect in most cases it would be an uncomfortable and messy scene. The truth might even lead to divorce, but look at Senator Ensign. The cover up of the lie has also led to divorce: and bankruptcy, ethics investigations, indictments, possibly prison and the end of a career in public service. 

The moral is the truth might not be simple, convenient or fun. 
Still, compared to any other option, the truth is about as simple as it gets.
Speaking of simple things with great returns, check out "It Starts With Us". Each week you get a 15 minute mission via email. When you're done, you share your thoughts with others in the group's forum. This week's mission is microvolunteering via I helped a non-prof with their mission statement. Adding to "A Life Well Lived", 15 minutes a week. It can't get any simpler.

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