Connecticut Senate Democrats rolled out a massive and unwieldy barrel of B.S. for Connecticut yesterday. Close on the heels of Senator Tom Gaffey's ethics being called into question, the Senate Democrats unveiled their 2008 ethics package.
Of course, this has nothing to do with Tom Gaffey, and it is purely coincidental.
The Senate Democrats want to revoke the pensions of corrupt officials, require ethics training for legislators and municipal officials, extend restrictions to state officials who lobby legislators (but this has nothing to do with Tom Gaffey!), create a permanent bi-partisan process for investigating alleged misconduct by legislators, and enact a code of conduct with a criminal penalty for officials who fail to report a bribe.
This is all well and fine. Of course, Don Williams and his cabal like to constantly invoke the name of John Rowland when trying to make a point about ethics. Now they have Lou DeLuca, to kick around too.
But if you want to look at the recent history of legislative corruption, or disgracing one's legislative office, I think it's helpful to once again examine this list:
State Senator Ernest Newton - DEMOCRAT: sentenced to five years in prison for accepting bribes and using campaign contributions for personal expenses. The self-proclaimed "Moses of [his] people" currently resides at Fort Dix, where he may or may not run into former Democrat Mayor of Bridgeport Joe Ganim, also serving time for corruption.
Frank DeJesus - DEMOCRAT: 2006 Candidate in the 3rd Assembly district in Hartford and ally of Mayor Perez was arrested on forgery, false statement, and falsely certifying oaths in connection with his attempts to pettition onto the ballot.
State Representative Barnaby Horton - DEMOCRAT: Paid a $10,000 fine plus given community service in connection with voter fraud in his primary against Rep. Ken Greene, trying to keep a legislative seat after his disappeared in redistricting in 2002.
State Representative Edwin Garcia - DEMOCRAT: Also a Hartford police officer, was prosecuted for accepting bribes in a food stamp scheme.
State Representative Donnie Sellers - DEMOCRAT: "I'm a politician. I ain't turning anything down" said Sellers, as he accepted a $200 bribe from a federal agent in a sting operation. Sellers offered to smooth the way for the obtaining of a pistol permit.
State Representative Kevin Ryan - DEMOCRAT: Repeated drunk driving offenses caused the Montville legislator to answer constituent mail from prison for an all too brief stint.
State Representative Jefferson Davis - DEMOCRAT: The former Pomfret legislator now has a permanent residence on the state's sex offender registry after he sexually abused his foster son.
I think Connecticut should have a higher standard when it comes to ethical reform than what Democrats apparently think is acceptable. These are the last people who can offer credible reforms.