Missouri GOP: Chutzpah Pays
by Jo Etta, Mon Sep 24, 2007 at 07:09:58 AM EDT
"THE COMMISSION VIOLATED THE STATE'S SUNSHINE LAW!" Republicans screeched in voices that rose to a range above the hearing of bats, frothing and flailing at the injustice of it all--this just a couple of days after the governor's office blithely defended deleting thousands of e-mails as a matter of course. The Sunshine Law they're so eager to pounce on forbids doing that, and they know it too, because Matt Blunt signed the requirement into law.
The Ethics Commission, horrified as they were to have the issue of returning over-the-limit campaign contributions dumped in their lap, made a misstep. So now they're rescinding their letter notifying candidates of their decision, and they're planning a public comments opportunity at their Oct. 4 meeting. They're not convinced that their private meeting was illegal, but they're cowed by the fury of the Republican reaction and the lawsuit that the GOP filed in a nanosecond:
"We find ourselves in a mess, in my opinion," said commissioner Ken Legan, of Halfway, who made the motion essentially calling for a do-over. "We probably ought to rescind our actions of Sept. 11 -- not that we made a mistake, but because of things that have happened."
Everybody's afraid of being a Republican target. The Supreme Court really ought to have ruled on this question, but, quailing at the concerted campaign to label them "activist judges", they tossed the hot potato into the only available lap. And now that the members of the Ethics Commission have bloodied noses, they're likely to be more malleable than they ought to about what constitutes "hardship". (Let me just mention that finding an envelope and a stamp do not constitute "hardship".)
Matt Blunt et. al. have gotten their bluff in, and they intend to swagger away with their swag.
Meanwhile, our gubernatorial candidate, Jay Nixon, as well as both Democratic Attorney General candidates--Margaret Donnelly and Jeff Harris--have said they are returning over-the-limit contributions.