Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Ken Bennett: The man who would be governor already on the Koch brothers' payroll

Turns out that AZ Secretary of State Ken Bennett, a likely candidate for governor in 2014, is already "supplementing" his income like someone who is ready for the 9th floor.

...For the record, to the best of my knowledge, everything Bennett is doing is allowed under Arizona law.

...For the record2, everything Bennett is doing is definitive evidence supporting the idea that the last people who should be allowed to write or enforce ethics laws covering public officials are the public officials themselves.  That's kind of like trusting the Mob with the writing and enforcement of racketeering laws.

From AZFamily.com (Phoenix channel 3), written by Dennis Welch (emphasis added) -
He's the state's top election official, but Secretary of State Ken Bennett is on the payroll of a political activist who spent millions of dollars last year trying to influence campaigns throughout the country.

Since taking office in 2009, Bennett has been paid tens of thousands of dollars by Richard Stephenson, a wealthy businessman and a key player for the political group, FreedomWorks.

Bennett, who had worked for his family owned oil business in the past, draws a monthly $2,000 salary for his work as a board member for the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, a for-profit company Stephenson started in the 1980s.

FreedomWorks is closely tied to the Koch brothers.  FreedomWorks is the result of a merger of two right wing groups, one of which was founded by the Kochs.

Bennett isn't the first candidate for governor paid off by the Kochs and/or their allies - witness Scott Walker (R-WI),  John Kasich (R-OH), Rick Snyder (R-MI) and Rick Scott (R-FL).

Bennett disclosed the directorship on his most recent financial disclosure forms (for years 2010, 2011, and 2012) without disclosing the amount of his compensation.  Which isn't required under the ethics laws that cover the behavior of elected officials in Arizona.

Additionally, on his 2012 form, he disclosed a gift from Stephenson that was greater than $500.  Which is as specific as he was required to be under the ethics laws that cover the behavior of elected officials in Arizona.

Which begs the question -

Why do we have ethics laws for public officials when they are watered down to the point of ineffectiveness by public officials?

Anyway, this may go a long way toward helping Bennett secure the Republican nomination for governor next year - he's now shown that he can be bought, and that his benefactors have even deeper pockets than Chuck Coughlin, the current governor's "benefactor".

Update on 5/8:  Regular reader Thane added a comment suggesting that I add the word "ally" to the title of this post.  I won't do that, but I will acknowledge the possibility of what I think Thane is trying to point out.  

Stephenson, who is clearly a Koch ally, may be trying to form his own herd of pet governors to supplement the herd of Koch bought-and-paid-for governors.

Either way, Bennett (and the others) are clearly on the payroll of people who place their personal interests before those of the interests of the people of the United States.

Which isn't a big deal, except that Bennett (and the others) all took oaths of office, picking up the burden of public trust.

1 comment:

Thane Eichenauer said...

If this was a newspaper I would overlook it but would it have been so hard to add the word "ally" to the title of this post?