The Rest of the Story – Getting Started

Posted on Dec 4, 2013 in The Rest of the Story | 0 comments

I believe in God. I believe in traditional family values.  I believe in free enterprise and fiscal responsibility.  I believe in the Constitution and believe that it was divinely inspired.  I believe in the right to bear arms and I believe that the states are separate independent sovereigns.

Having these beliefs often brands me as a right wing radical, but those beliefs come right out of the preamble to the Idaho Republican Party platform.

Since announcing my candidacy for Secretary of State, the press has tried very hard to paint a picture of who I am.  I would like to address each of those issues to let you know “The Rest of the Story” and paint my own picture.

My decision making process is not a random process.  I ask some very basic questions –

  1. Will this decision enhance or detract from personal responsibility, freedom or liberty?
  2. Does this decision uphold the Constitution?
  3. Does it promote the common good?
  4. Do the short term and long term benefits outweigh the short and long term costs?
  5. What are the measureable results.

With that background, let me address each of the issues that the press has nailed me on.

  1. Representative Phil Hart.  Representative Phil Hart was the whipping boy of the press for several years, I was always chided as being easy on Representative Hart and not, as Speaker of the House, remove him from all his legislative duties.  Well as far as I know, there were never any criminal convictions, or even criminal charges filed against Representative Hart.  The House ethics committee found no violations, but recommended that he no longer be Vice Chairman of the Transportation committee and that he not serve on the Revenue and Taxation committee. As Speaker of the House I followed both of those recommendations.  Representative Hart  had a tax judgment against him, which he was appealing.  He has every constitutional right to exhaust all appeals.  On the other hand, I had no constitutional right to remove him from the House.  Representative Hart  was the duly elected representative from his district, sent to Boise to represent his constituents.
  2. Financial Disclosure.  In 2009, Senate Bill 1156 passed the Senate and came to the House.  We did not have a hearing on the bill because it did not disclose anything. I encourage everyone to read SB1156.
    • Under SB 1156, legislators would be required to disclose “Sources” of income over $10,000, not the actual amount. So from ten thousand to ten million you just disclose the source of that income.  A “professional” person, (a lawyer, accountant, insurance person or consultant) would have been exempted from disclosing their client, even if the client is government.  The bill definitely needed more work.
  3. Pension Spiking.   In the 2012 session, House Bill 444 concerned state pensions. Again I encourage everyone to read this bill.  The bill did have a hearing in the House State Affairs Committee where many questions were raised and unanswered. The bill was held subject to the call of the Chair, for time for those questions to be answered. However, those questions were never satisfactorily answered so I did ask the Chairman to not reschedule it for a hearing.  But the issue brings up other questions:
    • The Constitution sets up a citizen committee to set legislative compensation.  This was done to take politics out of the area of legislative compensation.  Pension is a part of that compensation. Shouldn’t the citizens committee make the recommendation, rather than putting politics back in?
    • More importantly, the entire pension system itself need revised.  If spiking is a problem and we fix it, do we just ignore the larger problem that the pension system is only 70-90 percent fully funded?  If the economy tanks, we have a huge unfunded liability, in the billions.  The solution to this problem is simple, yet complex, and will take political courage to fix.  We need to get away from a defined benefit plan and go to a defined contribution plan for future hires.  It is not my intent to take away a benefit that has been promised to state employees.
  4. The Victory Fund.   In 2007, I started the Victory Fund.  It was a political Action Committee totally controlled by me.  I was the only one who was able to sign checks.  I started the Victory Fund to be able to help our candidates in the primary elections (The House Caucus fund is totally separate, controlled by all four House leaders, and was used only in the general elections).  In 2012, the Victory fund gave $10,000 to the Gun Pac to help our House incumbent candidates.  The board of the Gun Pac also supported other candidates giving the impression that I was supporting challengers to some of our members.  I regret and take full responsibility for not making certain that the Gun Pac only supported those candidates which I chose, and no others.

I will continue to address issues as they come up, in my own words, on my website.

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