Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Haslam’s Near-Sighted Trust

Well, so much for my news fast. I swear I turned on the local news to find out about the weather! Instead, I learn our new Governor Bill Haslam has put all of his money in a "blind" trust ... except his holdings in Pilot Oil because,
Haslam said in a release Tuesday that Tennesseans are "very familiar" with his relationship with Pilot, a privately held company with annual revenues of $20 billion.

Um ... so? What does that have to do with anything? The blind trust isn't to shield the public from information about your financial holdings. It's to shield YOU from information about your financial holdings! So your actions as governor are made completely separate and independent of any potential gain or loss to your personal fortune -- even an unintentional one! It's to protect YOU from conflict of interest, not us.

I mean ... how can you not get that? Or do you just think we're stupid? Nice way for the new Republican Governor to start off his term, eh?

So, now that we have Mr. Pilot Oil keeping a keen eye on his family business I’m wondering if that will have any bearing on his approach to issues like, say, alternative energy, EV automobile incentives, enforcement of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, environmental regulations, sales of wine in stores like Pilot’s Flying J convenience markets, etc. etc. I mean, we'll just never know, will we? Any action Gov. Haslam takes from here on out will be tainted by his $20 billion private corporation: good, bad or indifferent. The fact that he will be kept informed of the profits and losses of the family business means his every act as governor will be tarnished by a cloud of potential self-interest.

Even worse, this comes right on the heels of Mr. Transparency’s first official action being to shield his personal bank account from the prying eyes of the voters. Classy.

So just to be clear: Haslam wants to keep us from knowing how much money he and his top aides make during his term, and he wants to keep an eye on his family fortune while in a position to set government policy affecting said family fortune.

Can you imagine the uproar if a Democrat did that? But so far it's crickets from the Tennessee Center For Pouring Over Al Gore’s NES Bill Policy Research.

Because, ya know, IOKIYAR.