Monday, March 06, 2006

Star Hand Slaps Gonso For Selling State Jobs

The Star editorialized today about the job offers Gov. Daniels' chief of staff Harry Gonso made to two Democratic House members who were pondering retirement. The paper carried a story on the job offers late last week on the back page of the Metro/State section. The Star's position on the job offers: "Offering jobs to lawmakers in the middle of a legislative session poses a possible conflict of interest." The Star's editors write:

It wasn't illegal for the governor's office to make an unsolicited offer to hire two legislators for state jobs during a legislative session. But it sure has the appearance of impropriety, especially for a governor who campaigned for office vowing to implement "ethical standards befitting of a great state."

Harry Gonso, the governor's chief of staff, says he never considered that offering jobs to lawmakers during the middle of the session might raise questions of ethics. He should have . . .

Yet House Minority Leader Pat Bauer, D-South Bend, who says the job offers "certainly raise a lot of questions," doesn't have room to complain. He is one of four lawmakers employed by Ivy Tech, whose budget the General Assembly controls.

Daniels, who has rightly complained about that practice, should refrain from approaching lawmakers for jobs until well after they have left office, and continue pushing for "simple and complete" ethical reform to bar similar practices.

The Star's reaction is little more than a small hand slap for what we consider a serious breach of public trust, if not criminal bribery. But the Star has already concluded it "wasn't illegal" so that should end the matter we guess. And the slap at Bauer seems to be subtle suggestion to Democrats that they shouldn't try making hay out of the issue if they know what's best for themselves.

1 comment:

Doug said...

After having read the analysis here at Advance Indiana first, the response of the Star editorial board seemed slightly ridiculous in its mildness.