Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Farenthold's New Gig Unintentionally Illustrates SEVERAL Problems with Texas' Good Ol' Boy Politics.

"It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness,
For a throne is established by righteousness."
Proverbs 16:12

By now we assume you've heard about Blake Farenthold's new position as a taxpayer-funded lobbyist for some obscure port agency on the Gulf Coast.  We could say a lot about it.  Suffice to say, we share the disgust.

While we're tempted to wax emotional about the topic, it teaches several lessons.  While Farenthold's specific situation makes his case particularly appalling, the underlying conduct is not unusual.  It's not always this blatant, but the bad behavior is very common.

To wit:
  • Taxpayer Funded Lobbying -- This biggest problem with this set up is that taxpayer funded entities are allowed to hire lobbyists (or "legislative liaisons" or "governmental affairs specialists" or whatever the euphemism this week) in the first place.  Taxpayer funds should not be used to lobby against taxpayers.  Period.

    Once that disgraceful practice is permitted, you shouldn't be surprised when it's used disgracefully.
  • Obscure Local Governments -- Question: Had you ever heard of the "Calhoun Port Authority"?!?  Neither had we.  But it's there.

    Texas is littered with corrupt, obscure, entities back by the power of the state.  Nobody can keep track of them all.  But they all have power to tax.  And they can all hire lobbyists.

    And they all have employees (most of whom receive taxpayer funded pensions).
  • The "Revolving Door" -- In both the Texas Legislature and the U.S. Congress, former members are allowed to lobby current members as soon as they leave the body.  That should be banned.  But, at a minimum, there should be a "cooling off period" of at least two (and, realistically, more like five) years.
  • No Consequences for EGREGIOUSLY bad sexual behavior -- The financial stuff should be enough to condemn this arrangement, but questionable financial practices aren't the main reason Blake Farenthold left Congress.

    The main reason Blake Farenthold left Congress is because, as a married man in his mid-50's, he ("allegedly") made regular gratuitous sexualized commentary to female staffers in their 20's.

    Yet nobody cares.
Bottom Line: While Farenthold's case is particularly blatant, the underlying "business model" is common.

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