August 16, 2005
Genesis of an Exodus?
Maybe it became too apparent, in these sessions of the joint Ethics Committee, that a "cooling-off period," wherein legislators would have to wait a year (more time is needed, in my opinion) before becoming lobbyists, would be enacted in the next session. Undoubtedly there were other reasons, too, but the fact is that House Minority Leader Tre' Hargett is taking a lobbyist job with Pfizer, Inc.
Get it while it's hot, Tre'. (Is it Tre, Tre', or Tré? Someone help me and I'll use the definitive.) You'll be safely ensconced by the time a "cooling-off period" is law.
My question is: how many more will jump ship for the same or similar reasons? How many will resign their seats because they know that some of their activities will be illegal as early as next year? (I'm not suggesting that they would resign based on conscience, but on expedience.)
This is more evidence that the (un)ethical atmosphere in Nashville knows no political party. Imagine it: you're a sitting legislator, and you have someone "knocking on your door" who was, just months before, in a top leadership position in the General Assembly. It's someone who knows "how things work" and can wield muscle. And he works for Big Pharma. (Keywords: prescription drugs, healthcare, TennCare, Medicaid.)
I'm happy for Mr. Hargett, who, at the same age as moi, is poised to make a heck of a lot more money for to raise his family than I'll likely ever see. I'll also give him the benefit of the doubt, as a total stranger, that he'll use his position wisely and not to unduly influence the process by which the people of Tennessee govern themselves, until he proves otherwise. I just won't be holding my breath, meantime.
I will, however, be waiting to read some of my favorite bloggers' reactions to this news.
UPDATE: Bob Krumm, who indeed is one of my favorite bloggers, has posted.
UPDATE deux: Matthew White, another one of my favorites, has weighed in with a personal view of the news. And Sharon Cobb asks, "Where's the outage [sic]?" She links to the Tennessean's story, which quotes car-horn-enthusiast Steve Gill sounding a lot like what I said above, regarding the timing of this decision.
Government | By joe lance | 5:33 PM