Saturday, August 26, 2006

Barbara Merrill's Ethics Violations

Okay, so this information isn't exactly fresh in terms of blogging, but Maine independent gubernatorial candidate Barbara Merrill's fine of ten grand from the Elections Ethics commission has probably dashed her already tiny hopes of connecting with voters this fall.

The original complaint about the violation was filed by John Michael, another independent candidate whose campaign is now toast, since he's decided not to appeal his refusal of public money for the election.

Here's my between-the-lines take on the following passage from the Portland Press Herald story:

Michael, who did not attend the commission's meeting, said later the panel should have disqualified Merrill from receiving public financing, an option that the panel rejected after one commissioner described it as "very draconian." Under Wednesday's ruling, Michael said, any publicly funded candidate who is willing to pay a fine can use tax dollars to make illegal retroactive payments to campaign workers.

This is probably the only sensible thing that Michael's said in months. And he somehow managed not to offend any minorities in the process. Will wonders never cease?

When the commissioner described disqualifying Merrill's campaign from public funds as "very draconian," they were really saying, "Well, we know that we need to continuously expand the so-called Clean Elections Fund, and therefore the number of candidates feeding at the trough, so we commissioners can become more important and command larger stipends as stewards of that fund. We can't ignore the enormous multiple counts of obvious fraud from the Michael campaign, but we'll try and keep the Merrill campaign in the money because they only made one technical slip-up."

I wish I could file a complaint with the commission that the very act of taking dollars from taxpayers in order that candidates might wage campaigns that are in conflict with the taxpayers' political philosophies is unethical. Not currently illegal, but definitely unethical.



Linking to the following blogs with open trackback posts: Samantha Burns, Point Five, Seven Deadly Sins, Assorted Babble, Church and State, Blue Star Chronicles, Right Nation, Leaning Straight Up, The Uncooperative Blogger, Stuck on Stupid, 123beta

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