Calls for campaign finance reform
Allegations have been made that State Auditor Stacey Pickering, State Treasurer Lynn Fitch, Attorney General Jim Hood, State Sen. Will Longwitz and others have used their campaign finance accounts for personal use instead of legitimate campaign expenses. In the wake of all that a number of politicians have called for next year’s Mississippi Legislature to consider campaign finance reforms. Why now? Nothing has changed about the need to make improvements in the state’s very weak and unenforceable campaign finance reporting laws. Anyone who has ever reviewed state campaign finance reports could easily determine that they are a farce. Transparency and good government would make it obvious that reform legislation is needed. I guess it is better to have the bandwagon now than not to have any action. We’ll see what happens with the new legislature in January of 2016.
Clear conflict of interest by Pascagoula reporter
April Havens is a reporter for the Mississippi Press newspaper in Pascagoula. The newspaper was formerly a daily. Today it is a pathetic excuse for a newspaper, publishing a print edition three days a week and being an online edition for the rest of the week. Among Havens’ duties at the newspaper is covering the Jackson County Board of Supervisors. As many of you know, the Jackson County Board of Supervisors are in the middle of the rotten situation at the Singing River Health System. Paula Yancey is the attorney for the supervisors. Doug Handshoe is a CPA from Wiggins who is a blogger. His website is called “Slabbed” (http://slabbed.org/) and he frequently writes about corruption on the Gulf Coast and also in Louisiana. Despite the excellent reporting by The Sun Herald regarding the Singing River Health Systems and the previous reports about the corruption at the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, Handshoe has done some solid reporting about these two scandals and other issues in South Mississippi and Louisiana. But back to April Havens. Handshoe recently pointed out a social media post by Havens. Havens was
thrilled to attend a concert by Lady Antebellum at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum and Convention Center. In her social media post, Havens thanked Paula Yancey for dinner and thanked Landon Stennett, Yancey’s son, for tickets to the concert. In the past I have noted unprofessional social media posts on Facebook and Twitter by some reporters for The Clarion-Ledger. Havens takes it to a new level of conflict of interest and unprofessionalism. A good word would be stupid.
The state flag story you won’t see in The Clarion-Ledger
KTVA, a CBS affiliate in Alaska, recently reported that the University of Alaska Fairbanks has returned the Mississippi state flag to the display of state flags on campus. On July 21, in the wake of the murders at a black church in South Carolina, UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers ordered the Mississippi flag to be removed from a campus plaza where the flags from all 50 states are displayed. A few days later after what Rogers called “public response” to the flag being taken down, the Mississippi flag is again displayed at the plaza. Brian added, “The tone and content of some of the responses I received this week have convinced me that it is in the best interest of UAF to return the Mississippi flag to the Circle of Flags.”
Pickering gets softball questions from Paul Gallo
In the wake of reports of an FBI investigation into his campaign finance reports, State Auditor Stacey Pickering was interviewed at the Neshoba County Fair on Super Talk Radio by Paul Gallo. Despite the allegations against Pickering in reports by Geoff Pender of The Jackson Clarion-Ledger, Gallo tossed softball questions at Pickering. For anyone listening to the interview, it was pathetic. In addition to all the concerns about expenditures for personal expenses instead of legitimate campaign expenses, there is another interesting note. On questions concerning his travel disbursements, one of the items Pickering noted in his statement to the press was travel expenses he incurred as Mississippi state chairman for the Mitt Romney presidential campaign. According to Pickering, being state chairman for Romney “required multiple trips in and out of state.” It is against the law to use state campaign funds to pay for expenses related to a campaign for federal office.
Sen. Ted Cruz proves that an Ivy League education doesn’t make you smart
A few years ago when longshot Ted Cruz was elected to the U.S. Senate from Texas, I thought it was good news. A solid conservative defeated a moderate Republican in the primary and eventually defeated the Democrat nominee. Ted Cruz has very impressive academic credentials. He graduated from Princeton with honors and then graduated with honors from Harvard Law School. Recently Cruz said that he had been betrayed by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and called McConnell a liar. I now think Cruz is a whack job. He has made numerous other outrageous statements and has spent almost as much time attacking his fellow Republicans as he has Democrats. No wonder state Sen. Chris McDaniel of Laurel considers Cruz his hero. Cruz is very unpopular with almost all of the other Republican members of the U.S. Senate. Among his colleagues Cruz may be the most unpopular and least respected senator since the infamous Joe McCarthy. As you know, Cruz is now running for president. He won’t make. Thank goodness.