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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Tennessee politics...corrupt as usual

Bredesen's office runs true to form

It seems that in Tennessee it is tradition to ignore any complaints originating from the "wrong people."

A case in point from the pages of the Knoxville weekly Metro Pulse -

Citizen Complainer Barry Schmittou filed the original citizen complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee that led to the investigation of state Sen. John Ford’s consulting contracts. He has been complaining about legislative ethics for years, but his complaints, even to a Nashville grand jury, have been largely ignored.

The recent Tennessee Waltz sting has prompted Schmittou to try again to get complaints heard. He has filed ethics complaints against about two dozen legislators, mostly having to do with incomplete and sketchy campaign finance reports. He often cites a credit card payment for several thousand dollars with the notation “campaign expenses.” He has filed complaints against House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh and Lt. Gov. John Wilder and a host of others.

Schmittou has cancer and alleges that he was fired and denied Workers Comp coverage and thus he has a beef with state government. He hobbles down to state Sen. Ron Ramsey’s office (chair of the Senate Ethics Committee) to file his complaints.

Until recently, the Senate Ethics Committee had not met for several years because evidently no able-bodied citizens had lodged a complaint about legislative ethics.

The Bredesen administration says his citizen advocacy is because he wants to draw attention to his Workman’s Comp complaints.

This after Schmittou filed an ethics complaint saying the Bredesen administration is tripling the TennCare business with First Health, a pharmaceutical management company who has as its lobbyist Dick Lodge, married to Bredesen administration cabinet member Gina Lodge.

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