Oh, happy days.for a few moments there I thought that I’d have to invent something to write about this week’ Never fear though, here comes the morning news and I have fresh meat to start off the day.
You can always count on the old government to give you something to write about, can’t you’
As you have heard me say many times before, I was always under the impression (I now believe I’ m wrong) that the folks who got elected were sent to their elected positions to represent us and look out for our best interests. I now believe that the folks we send off to do that chore are, for the most part, looking after their best interests and then if they have the time and the inclination, they might (note the word’ might) look after what we, the voters desire and are concerned about.
If you’ve had kids, you should know what I am about to say is true. When you set up the rules for your children you had to be very specific. I mean very specific. For example, if you told them they were not allowed to play on the roof of the house, but you failed to identify what days they could not do so; most likely you had to go back and specify that they could not play on the roof of the house on ANY day of the week.
Likewise if you told them that they had to wear pants or shirts, then you had to identify what day of the week as well as the time of the day along with where they were required to wear pants and shirts. Oh, yes and that both pants and shirts were required, not just one or the other.
Now you would think adults would follow the rules a lot easier, wouldn’t you’
Nope, not in our good old state legislature. Let’s examine what is happening.
Some five years ago the ethics committee established a rule which stated that a political candidate or officeholder must disclose the amounts they were holding in their campaign donation accounts. They failed to state that the total value of such deposits as well as any investments must be reported as well. The requirement was only for the amount of the donations.
So, now the rules committee changed the rules to further state that the officeholder or candidate has to report everything, interest, stocks, bonds as well as T-bills. Anything that can increase in value as a result of campaign donations has to be reported.
As you might expect, some legislative members are upset. They think the rules are too broad and will require ‘ additional burdens’ on the candidates if they have to itemize what they did with the money they have received. Their argument is that some investments such as stocks or bonds might be physically in the hands of the legislative member and not recorded in any actual account.
Gosh, that’s tough, isn’t it’ I mean they might actually have to disclose something to us’ the mere citizens of the land. Heaven forbid.
I mean let’s look at the situation here. Suppose an old boy has about 2 million in his campaign account. With his or her connections it should be fairly easy to generate 8% a year from this amount or about $160,000. None of which has had to be reported under the old rules. Who would know’ The rules just specified that the amount of the donation (not the value of the money once it was invested) had to be reported. Remember my first paragraph about being specific with your children’ I suppose the legislators just misread the intent of the campaign contribution rule. We or the rules committee didn’t tell them that we wanted to know about all of the campaign funds, the original amounts as well as the value of any investments of those original amounts.
So, you might be asking why is this important’ These legislators don’t make much money for the most part. So, what’s the harm’
Well consider this.what if legislator X decides to invest his campaign fund in stocks or bonds of companies who are lobbying for new legislation or who might have some adverse legislation passed what would materially affect them’ How can the public know why anyone voted the way they did unless they have an idea of what the legislator owns or invests his or her money in’ I smell conflict of interest here.
The sad thing about activities such as this is the fact that a lot of these people seem to be only looking out for their benefit rather than ours. And you know what; this is only about the stuff that we know about.
What else is out there that no one has discovered’
This kind of stuff makes me sick to my stomach.