Everybody knew it. Nobody questioned it. Public officials themselves winked and smiled. There was never a discouraging word. No one ever reasoned that, since not everybody was the recipient of such largesse, it was inequitably distributed. No one talked about the waste of taxpayer money.
There came a time, though, when that kind of corruption, if that’s what it actually was, was seen as an abuse of power. That attitude started coming into vogue around the time of the passage of the State Open Government laws.
People began to take their government more seriously and demand of it behavior worthy of the public trust.
Government officials had to account for their actions and the people’s money, and those kinds of favors were suddenly far out of favor.
We believe that, now, if any such shenanigans came to light, the guilty official would be treated accordingly.
So we have made some progress in government ethics, after all.