Friday, February 23, 2007

Steak Dinner Evidence of Pay to Play?

Republican House Speaker Lance Cargill's fundraising practices are again making headlines. Last year Cargill was the subject of a published investigative report in the Oklahoma Gazette about a "pay to play" scheme that he and then Speaker Todd Hiett had constructed and were implementing. (March 23, March 29, June 7, 2006) It wasn't the Democrats who first complained, but the lobbyists who were being strong armed by the GOP leadership to pay up or risk having the bills they are interested in tossed.

Cargill says "it's" not happening this year, that he's doing it right, that he's reformed, and to prove it he's introduced an eight-point lobbying reform package.

He then alleges that the Democrats are doing something wrong. His evidence? He was in a fancy OKC steakhouse a few days ago and saw five Democrats eating steaks together. This he said is evidence that their votes are for sale and that his is not. I think this is evidence that five Democrats were at dinner together and that Cargill is doing the "right", the partisan Republican, thing.

Recently he further defended his activities with this statement to the Associated Press: "Everybody out here asks lobbyists for money, there's nothing new about this.

"It wasn't a shakedown, holding people over a barrel on legislation. We're just being up front with people about the political goals that we have. That includes the 100 Ideas, that includes our legal fund."

Really now? Is this the same 100 Ideas initiative being promoted by ousted Republican legislator Thad Balkman? Did you catch that --- the political goals that WE have. And those would be the goals of the RNC, the OKGOP, and CHS.....

Further allegations of scandal dog the new speaker --- and where there's smoke, there could be fire, now if we could just find five Republicans eating together we'd have all the evidence needed.

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