Many races were decided by the August 4 first primary. The others will be determined by the August 25 runoff or November general election. Hopefully, when incumbent and newly elected state legislators return to Jackson in January of 2016, one issue won’t be neglected – Mississippi’s pitiful campaign finance laws. Those laws garnered attention before August 2 when Clarion-Ledger political editor Geoff Pender reported State Auditor Stacey Pickering was being investigated by the FBI for issues involving his campaign account. The issue of candidates using campaign contributions for personal rather than campaign expenses has also been raised regarding Attorney General Jim Hood, State Treasurer Lynn Fitch, and Sen. Will Longwitz. Make no mistake. This issue is far more widespread than just a handful of legislators or some statewide officials. In an excellent column the Sunday before the first primary, Pender wrote about what can best be described as legal fraud is allowed because of the state’s campaign finance laws. He wrote about Rep. Hank Zuber, a Republican from Ocean Springs, offering several bills to prohibit campaign donations from being used for a politician’s personal expenses. Somewhat tongue in cheek Pender said Zuber’s bills he has introduced during more than one session have been referred to the “Committee of the Azalea Bushes.” He added that Zuber’s bill also died in the “Tico’s Steakhouse Committee.” Tico’s is a Jackson dining and watering hole where many legislative souls have been bought with steaks and booze. During the 2015 legislative session, Zuber filed HB 169 which would make it unlawful for a candidate to use any campaign contribution for any personal reason unrelated to the candidate’s campaign. HB 169 was double refered to the House Judiciary A Committee and the Apportionment and Elections Committee. A double referral is used more often than not to make sure a bill is never reported to the floor of the House or Senate for a vote by all members. Judiciary A is chaired by Mark Baker of Brandon and the Apportionment and Elections Committee is chaired by Bill Denny of Jackson. Both are Republicans. Of course, HB 169 died in committee.
Dark Horse Mississippi nails two leading Senate Repubicans
Dark Horse Mississippi is a political blog that tilts to the left and favors Democrats. A couple of things about DHM bother me. The site hides behind anonymity. I think any blogger or anyone making comments on a blog that uses anonymity is gutless. If