Wallowing at the trough

Wallowing at the trough

“A California state senator who sits on a committee that oversees gambling issues is urging Indian tribes that operate casinos to retain his private consulting group to bolster their image and fend off political attacks from other gambling interests.

Battin, who is paid $99,000 a year as a full-time lawmaker, noted that there is no prohibition against earning outside income and said his enterprise doesn’t compromise his legislative responsibilities.

“If I felt conflicted, I would abstain,” Battin said. “I’m not interested in crossing the line.” <Then what, may I ask, would make you feel conflicted, Senator?>

But his actions in soliciting business from the casino tribes, which have become the state’s largest campaign donors and are affected each year by legislation, drew sharp criticism.

“In my wildest dreams, I can’t imagine it’s true,” said Karen Getman, who recently stepped down as chairwoman of the Fair Political Practices Commission, which oversees state financial disclosure and conflict-of-interest laws. “I am truly speechless. You think you’ve heard everything, but you really haven’t.”

I’m speechless to learn that such behavior isn’t illegal…