Squeaky Clean? You Bet...

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If you're in line for a federal job these days, there's no such thing as too careful.

Washington politics being the fishbowl that it is, new government hires - high-level ones at least - have always been vulnerable to the probing of a scandal-hungry media, not to mention their political opponents. But after President Obama's picks for two cabinet posts and a top White House aide had to withdraw their nominations over money-related ethical lapses, and a fourth official (Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner) almost suffered the same fate, the old injunction to keep your nose clean is reaching new heights.

One financial professional undergoing a background check for a job at Treasury recently took part of his day to visit a local agency and pay $150 of unpaid paid parking tickets. Before moving to the capital, he wanted to make certain his local record was clear and he held the documentary proof in his hands.

The way he figures, the last thing he needs on day one of his new job is a network TV reporter and camera crew waiting outside his office to expose him as a scofflaw.