The state GOB network is at it again.

Forced to take a run at ethics reform in the wake of Tennessee Waltz, the state legislatuare appears ready to scrap the proposal that they've been working on for the last couple of weeks in favor of a pro-lobby version, tailored largely to the recommendations in the "special extra-super executive blue ribbon task force on ethics with sugar on top" commissioned by Gov. Bredesen last year.

Special interests and big-money donors could continue to provide a large portion of the bankrolls for Tennessee campaigns under a new ethics proposal unveiled yesterday, one that appears to have the backing of most key lawmakers.

(emphasis mine)

Why am I not surprised? (more after the flip)

Leaders of both parties in the House, along with Senate GOP leaders, said they are on board with the Mumpower plan. House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh, D-Covington, said Bredesen's reaction was "favorable" when the governor was told about it Wednesday.

Detractors are mostly leaders of the Senate Democrats, who say they believe key provisions that were carefully negotiated in the past weeks have been left out.

Those include at least four measures contained in earlier versions of the bill that they said would rightly take big money out of campaigns, including limiting an individual to giving a total of $25,000 to all campaigns in a given year; reducing the maximum contribution by political-action committees; and limiting PACs to giving no more than $20,000 to political caucuses. Lobbyists also could continue to direct contributions from PACs and their employers.

By going along with the Mumpower plan, Republicans and House Democrats "sold out for a few gold coins," said Sen. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, a member of the conference committee. House Democrats weren't thrilled with the lower PAC limits, and Republicans didn't like capping a contributor at $25,000, he said.

Result? A tepid bill with more fang-free "enforcement" provisions which ignores the genuine root of the issue: Allowing money to flow freely into political campaigns, thereby dictating access, thereby dicating agenda.

This "alternative ethics proposal" is not so much about being an "alternative proposal" so much as it's about setting up an "alternative ethics" by which our legislators are governed.

Maybe they abide by a different set of Commandments, too.

-- Thou shalt not kill, but feel free to make a killing.

-- Thou shalt not steal much.

-- Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor, so don't move in next door to your political opponents, and you can say whatever you want.

-- Thou shalt cover thy neighbor's ass.

Or something like that.

Observing all appropriate patents & copyrights: "OK, then."

UPDATE: The fast-track continues. Cohen amendment to limit big-money political donations shot down.

A move to include sharp limits on big-money political donors in Rep. Jason Mumpower’s new ethics bill has failed in a legislative conference committee.

The provision, backed by state Sen. Steve Cohen, would have imposed restrictions on the biggest campaign donors, which Senate Democrats have said are necessary to limit the role of money in the state’s political process.

rikki's picture

Mumpower. Lobbyists have the

Mumpower. Lobbyists have the power. Politicians stay mum.

Andy Axel's picture

Rikki speaks truth. See

Rikki speaks truth.

See update above.
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