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The Political Investigation Season Begins

There are still almost two years to go before the 2016 Presidential election, and two of the leading presumed contenders are already under investigation by various government agencies: former First Lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (a Democrat) and the current Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie (a Republican). She for Benghazi; he for the George Washington Bridge fiasco and the New Jersey public relations campaign featuring his family in the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy.

What I'm going to call "investigation season" is now fully underway. And this is just the beginning for Secretary Clinton and Governor Christie, assuming neither one declares they're not going to run.

As we get closer to the 2016 election, the detractors will dig and dig until they unearth something, anything they can use to launch an investigation into the past of every candidate. The only point being to "prove" them to be the bad characters the opposition wants them to be. It seems that politics has become a contest not about who's best qualified to serve, but about who has never made a mistake or a poor decision, no matter how long ago or how trivial, even if no malice was intended; and who didn't give the correct mea culpa and beg for forgiveness. It's not about who is best for the job, but rather who can outlast the investigatory process. It's become obvious to me that anyone entering or seeking advancement in politics has to be absolutely out of their mind.

Let's just assume and accept that we're all flawed. We've made mistakes, we've done things that in hindsight we realize we shouldn't have. And we've changed and matured as time passes. Some of the most talented and gifted potential leaders out there have issues in their pasts; why would they want to subject themselves to the kind of investigatory scrutiny that political candidates have to endure today? Now don't think I want to bury my head in the sand and not properly vet potential government leaders; but I do think we need to balance full disclosure with the negative ramifications of having the best potential public servants walk away because of the unimaginable level of enquiry they would undergo.

I hope both Secretary Clinton and Governor Christie have the fortitude and pocketbooks to withstand it. It'll certainly make 2016 more interesting if they're both left standing.

On another note, the current investigations and the multitude of those to come have started a cottage industry. For any of you looking to enter a new business or service line, you may want to give political investigation close consideration. Perhaps the AICPA, the self-regulatory body for the accounting profession, needs to come up with a special designation for CPA's trained in this newest growth field. It could certainly be a growth industry for those of us at Marcum.

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The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Jeffrey M. Weiner and do not represent those of Marcum LLP, its partners or its employees.

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