The foxes have been guarding the henhouse for forty years. Now the foxes are offering corruption reform plans. What’s wrong with this picture?
Jackley said he plans to work with legislators on a set of bills for next year that will bring harsher penalties for those who benefit from conflicts of interest. He said he hoped new conflict laws would require felony charges for those who benefit from conflicts of interest, could increase the likelihood of jail time on those charges and would require reporting those conflicts to the attorney general’s office.
None of the four people facing criminal charges in connection with an embezzling scheme at a Platte educational cooperative or the state’s investment-for-visa program will see conflict of interest charges, Jackley said, because existing policies “don’t have any teeth” [Dana Ferguson, “Jackley Calls for More Info on Conflicts, Deflects Criticism, Conspiracy Theories,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2016.04.08].
Before Jackley goes
campaigning complaining about the need for new policies to let him go after corruption, maybe he should explain why hasn’t gone after EB-5 czar Joop Bollen for all the other existing rules and laws that he’s broken. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, right, Marty?
Fellow foxes Mickelson and Tidemann seem to agree with me:
Two legislators who worked to draft current conflict of interest legislation said they’d work with the attorney general on the bills, but weren’t sure that they were necessary.
“If you can prove theft or fraud, you face a felony charge,” Rep. Mark Mickelson, R-Sioux Falls, said. “I’m not opposed to considering it, but I feel like there are fact patterns where they’d face felony charges already.”
Sen. Larry Tidemann, R-Brookings, said he’d also sit down with Jackley to consider the legislation, but he felt existing legislation equips the state to deal with conflicts.
“We’ve made some big steps toward rectifying things,” Tidemann said. “But we can look at taking more steps to bring more answers” [Ferguson, 2016.04.08].
I feel like Luke Blogwalker trying to turn Darth Marty away from the Dark Side. Emperor Mickeltine is blowing blue lightning out their fingertips to crush our anti-corruption rebellion, and Darth Marty is looking back and forth, signaling he just might join our pitiful little band.
I don’t think we’re going to save Marty’s soul. I think it’s much more likely that the Dark Side is telling him to use corruption as a gubernatorial campaign club. But A.G. Jackley’s willingness to at least say that we need to “bring back the integrity of state government” supports what I’ve been saying to Democratic candidates for months: concern about corruption has reached a critical mass in the South Dakota electorate. People are ready to vote on corruption, and that’s why Jackley and Mickelson are willing to publicly fight about it.
Fellow Democrats, we Jedi chickens (I know, branding) can’t let Darth Marty and the foxes keep pretending to guard the henhouse. They are the real chickens, who haven’t done anything to stop the corruption that is now leaking from every rickety gap in the coop. And if we keep electing the same people and the same party, we’ll get the same results.
But keep talking, Marty—you’ll help me make my point. (See? My Jedi mind trick is working!)