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How Background Checks Can Stop Promising Political Careers

How Background Checks Can Stop Promising Political Careers

People in the US get into politics for many different reasons. Some political careers pay pretty well, so that might enter into it. Others might want to change the existing system in some way. 

Still, others feel drawn to public service, and they’re good public speakers. That combination can be enough for them to feel like life in the public eye is for them.

What some individuals who get into politics don’t quite understand is how very public their life becomes. They might not know that if they form an exploratory committee to try and see if a run for a public office is a viable option for them, that committee will dig into their past before anything else. They might recommend that the person run for office, or not, depending on what they find.

We’ll talk about how that works in the following article.

The Exploratory Committee Often Hires a Background Check Company

photo via: https://www.housecallpro.com/

Companies exist that can do reliable and thorough background checks these days. It could be that an exploratory committee trying to help a potential candidate figure out whether they’re going to run for public office will hire one of them.

These companies usually have proprietary software that can do a deep dive regarding a potential candidate. If you’re running for something like county clerk for a tiny township, a thorough check into your past will probably not be necessary. If you are running for something like the US Senate or US president, that’s when these programs will try to gather any information about you that they possibly can.

They will go back to your birth, combing through records. They will look at your educational history. They will look at your marital status. They will certainly look at your criminal record if you have one.

Apart from that, they will go through your social media history. They’ll look into your relatives as well. 

Maybe you have a sibling, an uncle, or anyone else related to you who did something that could potentially embarrass you when you’re on the campaign trail. If so, the exploratory committee needs to know about it to get out ahead of it or otherwise figure out how to deal with it when a reporter asks about it.

They will also speak directly to you, the candidate. They will basically want you to relate your life story to them, leaving out as little as possible. Anything that you don’t deliberately divulge, they will probably find out about anyway when they finish doing their thorough background check.

How the Wrong Background Check Information Can Halt a Potential Political Career

This process can embarrass you as a candidate. Maybe you had some incident in your past that you’d prefer the exploratory committee not to discover. Perhaps it’s fairly innocuous, or it could be something more serious. There are all kinds of indiscretions from your past that could come to light.

Maybe you drank a little too much at some party while you were in college, and you got a drunk and disorderly citation. Perhaps you have a drunk driving arrest on your record. Maybe you have something like a public urination arrest, or the cops busted you for weed.

Some youthful hijinks will probably not be enough to stop your political aspirations in their tracks, but what if the background check comes up with something more serious? What if, instead of a drunk driving arrest, you hit someone with your car when you drank and drove?

What if you’re running and want to impose strict abortion laws, but you had one yourself at some point? Someone running against you could use that information and accuse you of hypocrisy.

The point is that any potential candidate, as long as you’re going for a highly sought-after office, must use a background check to examine your own life because you can be sure your opponent will do the same thing. They will always run a check on you to try and find some way to smear you. Politics are a dirty game, and you should be ready for the mudslinging that is sure to happen.

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What Can You Do About What the Background Check Finds?

You can look at what incidents from your life you remember and tell the exploratory committee, and you can also look at whatever else the background check found. Maybe you didn’t try to deceive the committee, but the background check turned something up that you honestly didn’t remember or think would be an issue.

At this point, you’ll sit down and talk about whether there’s anything in your past that you think is bad enough to disqualify you from holding public office. If you have a squeaky-clean history, and the search didn’t come up with anything, not even a parking ticket, then you’re probably fine to run for office if you feel like you have a shot at winning.

Some politicians start their careers by running for an office they’re pretty sure they can’t get just because they want some campaign experience. They get to practice fundraising, public speaking, etc.

It’s all part of the process you can expect if you plan to hold public office. You need to know that first the exploratory committee and then the public at large will scrutinize your life and any mistake you’ve made, or anything they consider a mistake. A spotlight will shine on your life’s smallest details.

If you have a problem with that, running for public office probably does not make much sense for you. 

You should get ready to become a public figure, every bit as exposed as a rock star or movie star. The higher or more prominent the office you want to hold, the deeper the dive to try and find any dirt on you that an opponent might use against you.

If you’re ready for that, start practicing your speeches and coming up with your platform because public office might be for you.

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