The next local, legislative and statewide elections are not until 2019, but the train to raise campaign funds never slows down. Each week many current elected officials have numerous campaign events. It is expected candidates for statewide elected office, incumbents or others with statewide ambition, never slow their efforts to raise money. Most of the events for incumbent state legislators are held in Jackson. These events are not so the good folks back home can contribute to help their political friends or good candidates for legislative office get elected. Legislators from all over the state have campaign events in Jackson so they can tap the pockets of lobbyists and other special interest groups. There are several things that drive these events, even though the primaries are almost three years away and the 2019 general election is even further in the distance. One reason is more than a handful of legislators have ambition to run for statewide office. Even those who just plan to seek re-election to the legislature want to build a big war chest to discourage potential opponents. More important to some incumbent legislators is the fact that under our state’s pathetic campaign finance laws, elected officials frequently use their campaign contributions for personal, non-campaign related expenses. This unethical practice has been well documented by numerous articles written by Clarion.Ledger political editor Geoff Pender and others who write for that newspaper. Even if an elected official spends his or her campaign funds for personal expenses, under current state law all they have to do is report that part of their spending on their taxes as personal income. It would not be a stretch to say a lot of that personal spending is not properly reported when these elected officials file their federal income tax returns. The fourth reason for the endless off-year campaign fundraising events is what I will call the “ten percenters.” These are individuals and firms who make their living, or part of their living, as professional
Another left-of-center writer, David Dallas of the Mississippi Business Journal, has jumped on the bandwagon to change the state flag. Along the way in his column, Dallas also takes cheap shots at Lt. Governor Tate Reeves. Perhaps we should review Dallas’ own credentials. At the end of each column he writes for the MBJ, the publication notes that Dallas “worked for former U.S. Sen. John Stennis.” Just as there is truth in lending and truth in advertising, there should be truth in journalism credentials. As someone who worked on a congressional staff for 14 years, I would argue that if you worked for a U.S. Senator that means you worked on his personal Senate staff, his staff in the state or even his committee staff since Stennis was chairman of two powerful committees. You could even stretch working for Stennis to being on his campaign staff for one of his re-election campaigns. In fact, Dallas’ so-called “work” for Stennis came after Stennis had retired and was living back in Starkville. Dallas, who also worked at the Stennis Institute, was paid by Mississippi State University. As a graduate student at MSU, Dallas and two other State students took care of Stennis 24 hours per day. Stennis was in very poor health after he retired and before he died. Dallas and the others drove Stennis to his home in Starkville provided by MSU, drove him to church, took him to Stennis’ hometown of DeKalb, pushed his wheelchair and was generally a personal assistant to Stennis.
Calls Lt. Gov. Reeves “Tater” 12 times
In his recent column about the state flag, Dallas called Lt. Gov. Reeves “Tater” 12 times. That’s pretty disrespectful and tacky, at best. In praising House Speaker Phillip Gunn as “courageous to a point” for Gunn supporting Mississippi changing the state flag. He notes that Gunn is “sincere enough with his Christian love and faith.” Is that a suggestion that those on the other side of the issue cannot have Christian love and faith? Dallas adds that the “hate-base” has been the backbone of the Mississippi Republican Party. Evidently Dallas’ graduate education did not teach him that the South’s most racist governors, Ross Barnett (Miss.), George Wallace (Ala), Lester Maddox (Ga) and Orval Faubus (Ark) were