An appalling lesson in ethics and the Ga. Legislature

In the last two hours of the very last day of the 2012 Georgia General Assembly, with scores of proposed bills flying back and forth between the House and Senate, a handful of powerful state legislators tried to take advantage of the confusion. The conspiracy they launched demonstrates just how contemptuous they have become of the people whom they were elected to serve.

The goal of their little plot was to further weaken Georgia’s already lax ethics laws. Had it succeeded, it would have prevented voters from learning the identities of elected officials who had failed to meet deadlines established in state law for filing ethics disclosure and campaign finance statements. It also would have allowed fines levied against legislators for violating those laws to simply disappear, without payment and without anyone even learning they had existed.

And believe or not, the means by which legislative leaders attempted to accomplish that deed was more sordid than the deed itself.

We begin with House Bill 875, a harmless little piece of legislation meant to ensure that the Department of Natural Resources did not have to release personal data of applicants for hunting and fishing licenses, such as Social Security numbers and drivers’ license photos.

However, in what now looks to have been a well-orchestrated scheme, this innocuous little bill was passed in slightly different versions in the House and Senate. That forced the appointment of a six-member conference committee — three from each chamber — to work out the differences.

In hindsight, the membership of that conference committee should have signaled trouble, because it was oddly high-powered for such a little bill.

In the Senate, it comprised Don Balfour of Snellville, the powerful chairman of the Senate Rules Committee and a prominent foe of ethics reform. John Bulloch of Ochlocknee and Jeff Mullis of Chickamauga, also members of the Rules Committee and influential legislators in their own right, were also appointed.

In the House, Ethics Committee Chairman Joe Wilkinson of Sandy Springs was named to the conference committee on HB 875, along with David Knight of Griffin and Tom McCall of Elberton.

Meeting in private in the last hours of the session, those six legislators agreed to dramatically revise HB 875 by adding the ethics-related language outlined above. They knew that such provisions would be highly controversial, but they were counting on the fact that in the last hectic hours of a session, members were much too busy to read the piles of legislation flying across their desks.

Under such circumstances, legislators casting votes are forced to rely on assurances from their colleagues that the bills coming before them are worthy of support. It is an act of faith and trust, and in this case, that faith and trust was betrayed.

After the conference committee concluded its work, Bulloch went to the Senate chamber, told his fellow senators that a deal had been worked out on little ol’ HB 875 and urged their support. It passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 46-4, but a look at the four “no” votes suggest that word of the bill’s true intent had already begun to leak out.

One of the four “no” votes was Josh McKoon, a freshman Republican from Columbus who had angered his party leadership by daring to sponsor ethics-reform legislation. Another was Democrat Jason Carter of Decatur, who earlier in the evening had tried and failed to force a floor vote on legislation imposing a $100 limit on gifts from lobbyists. The third was Democrat Gloria Butler, secretary of the Senate Ethics Committee; the fourth was Mike Crane, a freshman Republican from Newnan.

With time ticking down in the session, the bill now moved to the House, where it was introduced to legislators with no mention of its revised content. By then, however, AJC reporters and others had caught wind of the changes made to the bill. As House members began to vote, word was spreading. Alarmed legislators who had initially voted “yes” on the bill quickly began changing those votes to “no”, and in the end the bill was defeated by a vote of 25 to 143.

Wilkinson, the House Ethics Committee chairman, later tried to defend the rejected language, calling opposition to it “disgraceful.” As he saw it, the public has no right to know when legislators miss legal deadlines for filing ethics forms.

“Why should [a politician’s] name be up there if he didn’t do anything wrong?” he said.

That is wrong on so many levels. First, it is wrong as a matter of process. If the only way to enact your “good idea” is by smuggling it into unrelated legislation at the last minute, then maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t really such a good idea.

Second, let’s think about what really happened here. In the past, Wilkinson has defended Georgia’s ethics laws by stressing the importance of disclosure. If legislators and lobbyists disclose everything as required by law, he has argued, we don’t really need laws against gifts and conflicts of interest, etc. The voters will have all the information they need to discipline their elected officials.

In reality, however, some legislators are going years without filing required disclosure forms; they also aren’t paying the required fines, because the state ethics commission lacks the resources and gumption to take action. As a result, the only remaining incentive to encourage legislators to file disclosure by the legal deadline is public exposure if they do not.

Last week, Wilkinson and other tried to reduce public disclosure about legislators’ failure to publicly disclose, and they tried to do it without full disclosure. That is not open government.

That is, to borrow Wilkinson’s word, “disgraceful.”

– Jay Bookman

682 comments Add your comment

Don't Forget

March 31st, 2012
12:52 pm

getalife

March 31st, 2012
12:58 pm

Corrupt pols policing themselves will never work.

Business as usual.

Don't Forget

March 31st, 2012
1:01 pm

Usually when you’re on the bottm, there’s nowhere to go but up. Looks like this provision defies that old axiom.

Don't Forget

March 31st, 2012
1:06 pm

The political divisiveness we have just contributes to this type of corruption. When you know that the other party has NO consideration for your opinions or concerns you are much less likely to call out the flaws of your own party.

Keep Up--Te gusta losing woofinpoofs?

March 31st, 2012
1:14 pm

A slimy bunch. I hope the AJC pushes this to the forefront of public knowledge. It’s time to demand reforms. This should not be a Republican/Democrat matter but an matter of what is right for all people of this state. Unfortunately I suspect it will be lost in more ODS and deflection.

Daedalus

March 31st, 2012
1:17 pm

Another legislative session, another failure on meaningful ethics reform.

Boy, I’m sure glad these clowns fixed our transportation mess. That took courage.

Or it will if they ever do it.

Don't Forget

March 31st, 2012
1:19 pm

It sounds as though this session did nothing to benefit anyone but themselves.

TaxPayer

March 31st, 2012
1:26 pm

I suppose “disgraceful” is the nice way of describing Wilkinson and his cohorts.

TaxPayer

March 31st, 2012
1:29 pm

As long as they continue to support family values and make sure their women folk cannot abort one of their inbred and fight to protect us from the unholy, they can get away with anything.

Ennis

March 31st, 2012
1:34 pm

Legislators claim they don’t get paid enuff. Do they think and expect lobbist to make up the differences in what they get and what they expect? Do they actually believe the public doesn’t need to know they are getting a salary boost? Ga is dead last in ethics reform and expectations. Why, or why can’t the people of Georgia vet the people who are running for office?? It seems that the people of Georgia would rather keep voting in the same ole’ slime balls than get out and find people willing to run that have the Public’s best interest at heart

Jay

March 31st, 2012
1:44 pm

They DON’T get paid enough. That is absolutely true.

Don't Forget

March 31st, 2012
1:47 pm

Well, you get what you pay for.

barking frog

March 31st, 2012
1:49 pm

Money won’t change the
mindset of a thief, it’s
the stealing they enjoy.

Don't Forget

March 31st, 2012
1:52 pm

Froggie I agree but if the pay is too low, all you get running for office ARE thieves and other ilks.

barking frog

March 31st, 2012
1:58 pm

Don’t forget,
Unlike the bankers
and wall streeters
and CEOs.

Don't Forget

March 31st, 2012
2:01 pm

Froggie, not all bankers and CEO’s are crooked. But it’s the ones who are that pay officials to make it easier to steal.

barking frog

March 31st, 2012
2:08 pm

Don’t Forget,
As per Jay, not all
legislators are crooks
but the ones that are
deal with the crooked
bankers, wall streeters
and CEOs and more pay
wouldn’t change that.
It’s a part time job.

TaxPayer

March 31st, 2012
2:12 pm

Even poor Kyle’s hand quivered as he tried his best to apply lipstick to that pig.

josef

March 31st, 2012
2:13 pm

Legislators and ethics…oh, come on, just how naive are we? Ethics go out the window with taking the oath of office. Corrupt to the core, every last one of them. The best that we can hope for is that the watchdogs, no small few of them equally out for their own interests, keep them at least wary of getting too bold.

My question, though, is who is watching the watchers?

barking frog

March 31st, 2012
2:16 pm

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

March 31st, 2012
2:18 pm

Well, it’s a shame the guy got caught trying to pull a fast one. But you got to admit, if he’d of got by with it, no one would of ever knowed and what you don’t know can’t hurt you. Right? And everybody else could of said they never knowed what they were voting for.

I say raise the statehouse pay to about $500,000. Then it would be fun to watch the real battles around election time. I’m sorta reminded of the story of the guy that dropped his keys in a commode. He pulled a $20 bill out of his pocket and dropped that in too. When his buddy asked what he was doing, he said “If I’m going to have to put my hand in there, I might as well make it worthwhile.”

josef

March 31st, 2012
2:23 pm

Frog

And not to rile al Shariff Imam Torquemada, but he has his interests in watching, watcher though he may be and not to go casting stones, but who’s watching him watch them?

In all fairness, covering all the shennanigans of that pack of thieves, liars and cheats, especially the spectacular lot we have in the Empire State of the South, would be impossible. I just wonder what’s at work in his particular choices. There is a bias there, even though he, no doubt, will bristle at the use of the term “bias,” neutral though it is in denotation.

And, Imam, I generally share your bias, okay? :-)

Don't Forget

March 31st, 2012
2:27 pm

Josef, diversity of bias.

barking frog

March 31st, 2012
2:28 pm

josef,
The AJC is watching Jay.

Fine, let's talk appalling...and “disgraceful”

March 31st, 2012
2:28 pm

Former Black Panther Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) made quite a fuss when he donned a “hoodie” during a speech in the U.S. House of Representatives until he was escorted out. At the time, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) “applauded his courage” for doing so. Meanwhile, back home in Rush’s district, two men wearing hooded sweatshirts, or “hoodies,” were the shooters in an incident that left one dead and five injured.

PALMDALE, Calif. (AP) – Seven black teens have been arrested on suspicion that they committed a hate crime when they attacked a 15-year-old Hispanic boy while he was walking home from school in Southern California, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office.

Al Sharpton: Civil disobedience will escalate if Zimmerman remains free

josef

March 31st, 2012
2:39 pm

Frog

And who’s watching the AJC? I’m not just being snippy here. I do appreciate the role of the pressm and the Herculean efforts made, But theirs is a self-appointed role and they have their own interests which often enough take priority to those of the general population.

I guess what I am saying is: scr*w all this ethics blather and let’s get real. I’m serious when I say I long for the days of Huey P when it was up front and, yes, honest. You wanna go back in office? Well, where’s my share of the corruption? Say whatever else you will about the Kingfish, he brought Louisiana into the 20th Century with a public education system, a highway system and loads of other public services. Corruption and kickback big time, but “honest” corruption and kickback. They weren’t hypocrites about it.

THIS is not open government!!!

March 31st, 2012
2:39 pm

President Obama promised to bring unprecedented transparency to Washington, D.C. As late as 2010, he told an audience, “I won’t stop fighting to open up government.” Around the same time, his press secretary asserted that the Obama Administration is the most transparent in American history. Though it pushed for lobbying disclosure, urged earmark-request disclosure, and willingly made White House visitor logs available, Obama’s first term has in fact been rife with just the sort of opacity that breeds corruption, obscures misdeeds, and undermines public trust in government. Far from being praiseworthy, the prevailing executive-branch attitude toward secrecy is an abomination, as is evident from even a cursory look at its real-world manifestations.

Conor Friedersdorf

Doggone/GA

March 31st, 2012
2:40 pm

“And who’s watching the AJC?”

Has everyone suddenly gone blind?

josef

March 31st, 2012
2:41 pm

Don’t Forget

“Diversity of bias.”

I’m for that.

josef

March 31st, 2012
2:43 pm

Doggone

Not blind, per se, but blindered…

Doggone/GA

March 31st, 2012
2:44 pm

“Not blind, per se, but blindered…”

In that case, it doesn’t matter who is watching the AJC…since they’re blindered it makes no difference. Right?

barking frog

March 31st, 2012
2:45 pm

josef,
CNN is watching the AJC.
Georgia has a history too.
And a present bad Deal.

josef

March 31st, 2012
2:51 pm

Doggone

“..it makes no difference…”

Essentially, true. The point is, there is so much horse-crap going on by our elected officials, no matter who we are we have to pick and choose just what we’re going to get bent out of shape about. I just wonder when I hear about this, that or the other one, what is at work and why that particular choice.

Mary Elizabeth

March 31st, 2012
2:52 pm

Excellent editorial. Thank you.

josef

March 31st, 2012
2:52 pm

Frog

And who’s watching CNN?

JamVet

March 31st, 2012
2:56 pm

The worst state government that dirty money can buy. And from Nathan Dirty Deal on down, arguably the worst in modern history.

Ethically bankrupt pigs at the public trough.

But they are not the real issue.

The rubes who vote for them are.

Republican voters are not the solution to our problems. They are the problem. ~Thomas Jefferson

TaxPayer

March 31st, 2012
2:56 pm

That midnight rider should be named in honor of Phil Gramm and his last minute sleight of hand that gave us the mess that is the opaque derivatives market. After all, he’s a product of Georgia and a mighty fine example of the unethical types we are capable of turning out.

Don't Forget

March 31st, 2012
2:57 pm

Josef the problem with the “benevolent dictator” model, if you think that’s a fair description, is how do you ensure the benevolence. Ya might just get another Nixon type.

Doggone/GA

March 31st, 2012
2:59 pm

” I just wonder when I hear about this, that or the other one, what is at work and why that particular choice.”

What it’s going to take…pretty much what it ALWAYS takes…is an egregious case that hit’s the public’s imagination. More or less like the Trayvon Marting case of the present time.

josef

March 31st, 2012
3:00 pm

ZamVet

I follow the shennanigans of enough other state legislatures to know that Georgia is just e pluribus unum. Texas and Illinois, just to name two, make Georgia’s look like rank amateurs…

Just saying..

March 31st, 2012
3:00 pm

Thanks, Jay, well written.

Wish my reaction could be different than “And the surprise is…?”

getalife

March 31st, 2012
3:04 pm

Yes, huge scandals have to break out before they are forced to address corruption.

JamVet

March 31st, 2012
3:06 pm

No, josef, not according to a noted study that came out recently.

Georgia got the lowest score out of all fifty states – a 49 out of 100.

Nineteen states got grades of C, and 18 got a D. Eight states got an ‘F,’ with grades of 59 or lower: North Dakota, Michigan, South Carolina, Maine, Virginia, Wyoming, South Dakota and Georgia.

One list does not make a total argument but look a the categories used and it is really damning for this dead red state of ours: 330 corruption risk indicators across 14 government categories, including access to information, campaign finance, executive accountability, legislative accountability, judicial accountability, budgeting, civil service management, procurement, internal auditing, lobbying disclosure, pension fund management, ethics enforcement, insurance commissions, and redistricting.

http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/2012/03/19/2725508/study-statehouses-at-high-risk.html

No need to try and put some lipstick on this Georgia pig by turning the attention to Tx. or Il.

We suck, REALLY suck. No matter what the story is elsewhere…

josef

March 31st, 2012
3:09 pm

Doggone
@ 2:59
I would much agree with that. And due to the nature of the beast, watching it itself leads to the “special interest” conundrum…

Don’t Forget

Huey was many things, but not a dictator. He knew his limits and he knew how to read the public mood. It’s not that I particularly am in favor of his brand of shennanigans, I’m not. But I am for transparency and since they’re all pretty much cut from the same corrupt fabric (and, no, I don’t think it’s a problem specific to our time and place, it’s been going on since Ugh ousted Argh for Cave Chief and control of fire), at least give me one who’s up front.

josef

March 31st, 2012
3:12 pm

ZamVet

And who funded the “noted study?” And, believe me, I’m not out to put lipstick on this spectacular convention of village idiots, but, again, Georgia is playing penny ante when put up against the shekels at play in the larger, more populous states…

barking frog

March 31st, 2012
3:13 pm

josef,
The FCC is watching CNN

Doggone/GA

March 31st, 2012
3:16 pm

Give it up BF…he’s just going to come back and ask who’s watching, not matter WHAT answer you give.

josef

March 31st, 2012
3:17 pm

Frog

Who’s watching the FCC?

barking frog

March 31st, 2012
3:19 pm

josef,
The FBI is watching the FCC.

josef

March 31st, 2012
3:19 pm

DOGGONE

Yes, I am…and what we’ll get in the long run is a circle…that’s why I’m saying how DO you get past the special interests and blindered vision? Like I said, I’m not out to be snippy, it’s just that there comes a point when the whole effort is essentially futile and, well, an exercise in trivial pursuit.

JamVet

March 31st, 2012
3:19 pm

And who funded the “noted study?”

The Center for Public Integrity, Public Radio International and Global Integrity. I presume you did not read that article?

And that changes what?

If you have some rankings where the “larger, more populous states are more corrupt, I’d like to view them.

Because this study actually addressed what I think is your canard. (read the paragraph that starts, “The report found that states with well-known scandals or histories of corruption…”)

josef

March 31st, 2012
3:20 pm

Frog

And who’s watching the FBI?

barking frog

March 31st, 2012
3:25 pm

josef,
President Obama is
watching the FBI.

josef

March 31st, 2012
3:26 pm

ZamVet

Look, I’m not arguing Georgia’s spot on the list…I’m talking about magnitude. If you look at the list of states with which it shares rank, most are backwaters where cronyism is more endemic because they have less pigs slopping at the trough.

My objection to such is that the net result is “…and? Your point is?” To harp on it being first/last depending on the metric is to make it so much easier to say, as we all seem to be doing, “what do you expect, so why bother?”

If Georgia came in, oh, say 38 on the list, would that be more “acceptable?”

josef

March 31st, 2012
3:27 pm

FROG

And who’s watching the President?

Doggone/GA

March 31st, 2012
3:27 pm

“Who’s watching the FCC?”

I rest my case!

JamVet

March 31st, 2012
3:29 pm

Who is watching you, frog?

(Tom Ridge, Michael Chertoff, John Ashcroft and Janet Neapolitan and their illegal spy boys)

To all of whom I give the one fingered salute…

getalife

March 31st, 2012
3:30 pm

What did government do to try to stop drugs? Zero tolerance and mandatory sentences.

What did government do to try to stop drunk driving? Zero tolerance and mandatory sentences.

What did government do to try to stop corruption? See where I am going with this point?

Doggone/GA

March 31st, 2012
3:30 pm

“that’s why I’m saying how DO you get past the special interests and blindered vision? Like I said, I’m not out to be snippy, it’s just that there comes a point when the whole effort is essentially futile and, well, an exercise in trivial pursuit.”

And I’ve already answered that…it’s going to take a case that captures the public’s imagination and that can’t be overlooked. LIke Watergate, which was both.

barking frog

March 31st, 2012
3:31 pm

josef,
No one. The buck stops
here. If the others are
crooks, It’s Obama’s
fault.

josef

March 31st, 2012
3:31 pm

DOGGONE

Rest your case? I’ve already pled guilty as charged! :-)

Doggone/GA

March 31st, 2012
3:34 pm

“Rest your case? I’ve already pled guilty as charged”

That was just timing conflict!

edman

March 31st, 2012
3:34 pm

Good catch, Jay. I for one could not be happier that you are watching and reporting all of this. Here is what worries me: if not Jay, then who?

josef

March 31st, 2012
3:35 pm

FROG

Agreed. That’s why I’m such a Harry S fan…thanks for playing, but there’s no small amount of truth in what you say. So, he’s the one who’s doing the picking and choosing for us all. Now, why is he choosing the ones he’s choosing? :-)

JamVet

March 31st, 2012
3:35 pm

If Georgia came in, oh, say 38 on the list, would that be more “acceptable?”

Yes. Of course.

You have a pretty obvious bias against the non-southern states.

As often as not, you will take a (cheap?) shot at Yankees/northerners.

Two of the three you have mentioned today are New York (by nickname) and Illinois.

Just an uppity observation…

barking frog

March 31st, 2012
3:35 pm

JamVet,
Please don’t tell them
I’m here.

josef

March 31st, 2012
3:36 pm

DOGGONE

Ah, but timing is everything! :-)

barking frog

March 31st, 2012
3:37 pm

josef,
Politics.

josef

March 31st, 2012
3:38 pm

ZamVet

Texas is not Southern? Do tell. And in case you don’t know Georgia has long been known as the Empire State of the South.

There was nothing even remotely anti-Yankee in what I said. Your own sheet’s showing here, Pombo… :-)

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

March 31st, 2012
3:39 pm

Well, I got a Free Market solution to this ethics problem. I know you don’t listen to me, but hear me out.

Right now these legislaters are owned by a whole bunch of private cos. And to own them the private cos. got to pay to buy them. That’s where the problem comes in. Some pay with golf trips, some pay with trips to Europe, some pay with real nice dinners, some pay with good-looking female lobbyists sleeping with the legislaters, and so on. And so the legislaters got to do their best to hide these gifts from the public.

Why don’t we just nip the problem in the bud by letting the cos. buy the legislaters up front? Heck, if we do that, we might not even need to pay the legislaters. The legislaters could use Free Innerprize to put theirselfs on sale to cos. The one with the highest bid would own the legislater.

And there might even be some free advertizing for the cos. A legislater from, say, Bushy Flats GA could be called Jimmy Bob Bushwhacker (R—Bushy Flats, courtesy of Labmark Hypodermic Syringe Corporation—-Labmark: sticking it to you since 1934.)

And don’t tell me you don’t know these legislaters are owned lock, stock & barrel by cos. You know it, I know it, the whole world knows it—but nobody can prove it. If you don’t like a co., you could vote against the legislater in the next election.

Give it some thought. I expect you’ll decide that the Free Market is the best solution to the ethics problem.

TaxPayer

March 31st, 2012
3:39 pm

josef appears to be throwing in the towel and resolving that they may be corrupt but at least they’re my little penny ante corrupt ones. By the way, who’s watching josef?

barking frog

March 31st, 2012
3:40 pm

josef,
well you know he used
to smoke dope. hard to
give that up.

josef

March 31st, 2012
3:40 pm

Frog

Yep. Special interests and money talks and bullsh*t walks…

Normal, plain and simple

March 31st, 2012
3:40 pm

Been changing toilets here, so naturally I was thinking of the Georgia Congress… I think I found remnants of Wilkinson and Bulloch in my “U” bend….

If YOU do not vote, then YOU have no voice...

March 31st, 2012
3:44 pm

No ethics means no justice! Thanks for keeping us informed.

JamVet

March 31st, 2012
3:44 pm

Please don’t tell them
I’m here.

No worries, frog. But they already know. Like Dylan said, “You know need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

And in this country and this day and age it is a wind with a very strong fascist smell to it.

jo, I did not know that was a nickname for Georgia. (But I can tell you pretty much every arcane fact there is to know about Kansas!)

getalife

March 31st, 2012
3:45 pm

cons lost the ability to determine right from wrong. Our moral compass is broken like our government.

Make no mistake, it is you, the people that are to blame for corruption but it has been a world wide problem since the invention of government.

I think it is Singapore paying pols millions in salary to try to solve it . China passes out death sentences and that has not stopped it.

Is it a solvable problem?

Not yet.

barking frog

March 31st, 2012
3:45 pm

josef,
the best thing about
politics is interns. that
is why the journalists
cover it so closely.

CHEVY runs deep!!!

March 31st, 2012
3:46 pm

josef

March 31st, 2012
3:47 pm

TAXI

I threw in the towel on that one ages ago… and you’re pretty on spot with that “at least they’re my little penny ante corrupt ones…” except I’d change the first person singular possessive pronoun to the plural…

Which is why I said what I said at the very beginning that the press does an Herculean effort and have no choice but to pick and choose. I’m just saying that expression of outrage when it’s brought to our attention in this, that or the other case does little to address the real issue.

And who’s watching me? Al Shariff Imam Torquemada? :-)

josef

March 31st, 2012
3:50 pm

ZamVet

I don’t live in Kansas, either.

Doggone/GA

March 31st, 2012
3:51 pm

“And who’s watching me? Al Shariff Imam Torquemada?”

and how long will it take to get to “God’s watching”?

barking frog

March 31st, 2012
3:51 pm

Jamvet,
if they already know,
I’ll hide behind another
sock puppet and only
Jay will know but he won’t
tell. journalistic ethics.

wet wiccan

March 31st, 2012
3:54 pm

Who’s watching who? Well you can be sure “THEY” are watching all of us.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGcdFLJrdJY

josef

March 31st, 2012
3:55 pm

Doggone

G-d’s watching? I thought that was a given.

Normal, plain and simple

March 31st, 2012
3:55 pm

Wet…

The stalker’s song!!!???

Doggone/GA

March 31st, 2012
3:56 pm

“G-d’s watching? I thought that was a given”

Sure, but there seems to be quite a few people who call themselves worshipers who seem to forget that.

TaxPayer

March 31st, 2012
3:57 pm

Well I can’t hardly argue the fact that corruption, amongst other things, has been and will continue to be with us for so long as we are but mere mortals but would that not also be sufficient reason to continue to strive for as much transparency as possible and, to that end, rely on folks like Jay as well as ourselves to be there to spread the word once that word gets a little too smelly to keep under nose any longer. And with that, I again ask, did the tea party, GRTL, et al, get everything they were hoping for in whomever they chose to support? Do they willingly and knowingly toss ethics, or other lesser “sins”, out the window in exchange for a 20-week time limit or just one more tax cut…? What price for their souls?

Don't Forget

March 31st, 2012
3:58 pm

Converts idea isn’t that crazy and I’ve thought of it before. If a candidate or PAC or superPac had to say “brought to you by the Koch Brothers, or GE or UAW or whatever it would be a lot more honest than American’s for Goodness and Light or some other BS. We shouldn’t suffer under the illusion that is any such thing as an unbiased opinion. One of my biggest beefs with Fox is this “fair and balanced” bs. Why don’t they just be honest and state their bias. MSNBC is biased but at least they are honest about it.

josef

March 31st, 2012
3:59 pm

wiccan

A quick funny for you…back when the Freedom of Information Act was passed several of my left wing radical and no small few of my right wing cohorts couldn’t believe I wasn’t going to ask for my files, especially the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission ones (a long story there). I told them I didn’t want to go through the ego deflate of finding out I didn’t have any…”aw, go ahead,” a Commie buddy said, “ask for it and if you didn’t have one you will now.” :-)

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

March 31st, 2012
4:00 pm

JAY:

I hear you and I have always been in agreement with you on this one.

However, just remember that during the Clinton years in the White House many of the workers in his Administration wouldn’t (or couldn’t for obvious reasons) fill out the required forms for security clearances. They stalled until the FBI/Secret Service gave up or until they left for a different job. This went on for years and they were never made to comply.

barking frog

March 31st, 2012
4:02 pm

RC, et al. I would prefer
we complete the fence
around the entire
country and let prison
rules apply.

JamVet

March 31st, 2012
4:03 pm

I’ll hide behind another
sock puppet

LOL, frog.

I’ve got this image of the cartoon character hiding behind a real skinny tree as if no one can see him!

Oh for the good old days when Nixon’s hit lists had a finite number of people on them.

josef

March 31st, 2012
4:03 pm

TAXI

Price on their souls? Oh, about a dime a dozen…

Doggone

I much agree with that…

wet wiccan

March 31st, 2012
4:08 pm

josef -

So did they have a file on you? How much was redacted? Haha!

Jack

March 31st, 2012
4:08 pm

Maybe this kind of corruption ought to be the AJC headline instead the lottery and the Florida mess.

Vast Right Wing Conspiracy

March 31st, 2012
4:10 pm

If it is truly this bad with the Republicans in charge, think how bad it would be with the Democrats in charge. The Democrats might even resort to “passing a bill so we can find out what is in it”.

josef

March 31st, 2012
4:12 pm

wiccan

I still don’t know if they did or not. Enough of my confederates (jump ZamVet, jump :-) ) had them that if I didn’t the watches weren’t watching too closely and, well, I DID make the national network news and testified before federal outside agitators… :-)

barking frog

March 31st, 2012
4:12 pm

JamVet,
Nixon is my political
hero. He built a career
and lost it. Came back
and got elected President.
Commited a felony in
office and saved himself
by appointing the next
President. Retired with
a pension and died an
elder statesman. Now
that’s a Politician.

carlosgvv

March 31st, 2012
4:13 pm

Georgia politicians have, for some time now, made no effort to hide their contempt for the average citizen. They seem to know their electorate will vote for them no matter what. This raises an obvious question. Why would people vote for those who have nothing but contempt for them?