Under the headline “Governor gave no-bid deal to former partners”, the Denver Post‘s Karen Crummy reports today:
As the first stimulus money flowed into Colorado, it was doled out to shovel-ready transportation projects â€” and some of Gov. Bill Ritter’s former law partners.
Ritter hired the politically connected firm of Hogan & Hartson three months ago to work on issues surrounding the state’s disbursement of federal stimulus funds. The firm has been paid $40,000 through June and is expected to file monthly bills.
Did Bill Ritter do anything illegal? Almost certainly not. Unethical? Well, if he were a Republican governor, you can be sure Colorado Ethics Watch would have filed a complaint by now.
Ritter’s cronyism aside, this story says at least as much to me about the inherent deficiencies of the “stimulus” (aka government pork-barrel spending on steroids). The legislation is so complex that the state has to spend thousands of dollars in legal fees to figure out how to administer it. What marvelous efficiency … Ha!
And in case you were worried about it being your tax dollars funding the no-bid consultation on the stimulus package:
State workers are facing furlough days and are amid freezes in hiring and pay, but Myung Oak Kim, spokeswoman for the governor’s economic recovery group, said the hires don’t violate the spirit or the letter of that policy. Federal taxpayers â€” not state taxpayers â€” are signing their checks. [emphasis added]
That makes it all better, right?
While this story sheds a negative light mostly on Bill Ritter, it also reminds us of the wild gamble taken by the Obama administration and members of Congress like Senator Michael Bennet and Representative Betsy Markey, who hastily voted for the hundreds of billions in government debt to be paid by you and your children. The so-called “stimulus” Bennet and Markey voted for is a big job-killer, too — unless the jobs belong to Democrat lawyers on government contracts consulting on how to spend billions in taxpayer money.
Today’s Post story also reminds us of Joe Biden’s acknowledgment last month that waste in stimulus spending is “inevitable”:
“There are going to be mistakes made,” said Biden. “Some people are being scammed already.”
“Our credibility depends on transparency” for how taxpayers dollars are used, he added.
Transparency, eh? Bill Ritter isn’t the only political figure whose credibility is taking a hit these days.