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“If Frenkel is only interested in money why would he leave a position that pays him 20 to 30 times the salary to be Bank of Israel Governor?” Lapid said in a fiery interview with Israel Radio’s Keren Neubach.

"Lapid testifies to Turkel, defends Frenkel on comptroller report", The Jerusalem Post)

Lapid, Israel's minister of finance, argued that a very talented and wealthy candidate for a high civil service position can not be corrupt, because he could make a lot more money outside the civil service.

I think it is a clear logical fallacy. Monetary gain is just one reason for personal corruption. A candidate can be corrupt for other reasons, like the desire to gain power and influence. And even if a candidate is after money, the civil service position can be leveraged to gain a lot more money than the salary outside the service.

In short, I argue that Applying for a civil service job with lower salary than one could have made outside the civil service, does not imply that one is uncorrupt.

Is there a name for that logical fallacy? If not, I'd really like to call it "Argumentum ad lapidum", which is also a pun on Argumentum ad lapidem.

Addendum: Lapid did not refer directly to corruption, but to an alleged shoplifting event Frenkel was involved in. This logical fallacy can be expanded to describe moral purity, not just corruption.

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“If Frenkel is only interested in money why would he leave a position that pays him 20 to 30 times the salary to be Bank of Israel Governor?”

In this form, I don't think there is a fallacy necessarily. They ask why he would leave his old position that pays him so much more for his new position, which seems to be a genuine question to me.

A candidate can be corrupt for other reasons, like the desire to gain power and influence.

That is true, but the quote specifically says "if he is only interested in money", it does not say "if he is corrupt". It is thus not a fallacy for that reason.

However, it could be interpreted as: "(A) He leaves a position that pays more, thus (B) he is not only interested in money."

While A is true, we are not sure whether B is true. It does not follow from A that B is true, since leaving a high-paying job is not a sufficient condition for not being interested in money, as you correctly pointed out. This is an example of a non sequitur.

  • Thanks. Perhaps I should add more quotes, but during numerous interviews Lapid insisted that the morality of rich candidates should not be questioned. – Adam Matan Jul 21 '13 at 12:22
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The question of the discussion is whether Frenkel is corrupt or not. Therefore arguments should concern that specific question. The burden of proof is on the person stating that Frenkel is corrupt.

The motives of Frenkel proof nothing about him being corrupt or not, so claiming that he is not corrupt because of his motive is Jumping to Conclusions, the "proof" is not sufficient. This is specifically a case of an Appeal to Motive which is a Red Herring.

To be sure, if you are a police investigator you should take motives in account, but the fallacy here is that motive does not equal proof.

If there is indeed proof that he is corrupt, then how much he could earn outside that job is not a relevant rebuttal and therefore also a Red Herring.

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