Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Ethics in TN Government

If you aren't up to date on the shenanigans that happened at Nashville's Capitol Hill with John Ford, and other legislators in the Tennessee Waltz, then here's the scoop. The TBI and FBI did a long term sting operation forming a "company" called E-Cycle, which was "based" in Atlanta, GA. Now, this sting was conducted from 2003 to the end arrests of seven legislators on May 24, 2005, and why in those two whole years they never thought to check the background of the company is beyond me.

Aside from that, now the Tennessee Government is voting on an Ethics Bill which would make many of the legislator's previous actions a crime. The Tennessean has a nice break-down of not only some examples, but in particular, who to watch throughout the whole process.

Some people it will affect:
Frank Buck (D - Dowelltown) - purchased UT tickets with campaign funds
Russell Johnson (R - Loudon) Purchased UT tickets with campaign funds
Gary Moore (D - Joelton) President of Tennessee Professional Firefighters Association, a group that lobbies in TN legislature.
Jimmy Naifeh (D - Covington) Bought Tennessee Titans Tickets with campaign funds, and will have to disclose potential conflicts of interest prior to voting on any bill lobbied on by his wife, Betty Anderson, who is a lobbyist for special interests.
Kathryn Bowers (D - Memphis) Was arrested and convicted of a federal crime for taking bribes in the Tennessee Waltz. If passed, she would not be allowed to serve in government because of that arrest.
Roy Herron (D - Dresdon) Paid off his persona credit car bills with campaign funds, and listed vague descriptions of the purpose on his campaign spending disclosure form

Best Ethics Quote - "For me to sit here and to be accused of violating the ethics rules is beyond me," John Ford, March 16, 2005, the same day he met with an E-Cycle representative about delaying the bill, and receiving $5,000 more in bribe money from E-Cycle.