Friday, May 27, 2005


Lt. Governor John Wilder shows he is lacking moral fiber

Wilder made these comments from the well of the Tennessee Senate today regarding four legislators that were caught red-handed accepting bribes through a two-year FBI sting:

"Money was being offered as bait to put somebody in jail... Three members of our family are in hell. Why? Because they're legislators."

No, John, they're not in hell. They were rightfully in jail, where criminals belong. And they're not there because they are legislators. They are there because their votes were being bought, because their greed overpowered their sense of duty, because they were being disloyal to the their constituents, and because they sought to corrupt the government of the Great State of Tennessee.

If you can't see that, Mr. Wilder, then you are either as corrupt as the indicted or have lost control of your faculties.

MORE: Knoxville Representative Joe Armstrong sounds like he feels fortunate not to have gotten snagged by the FBI in "Tennessee Waltz." Of course, if you are clean and do your legislative duties with honor, you don't have to worry about being arrested. Also of notice - Armstrong co-sponsored HB37 (the bill that has caused all of the indictments) without even familiarizing himself with the legislation?!?! The story doesn't even address whether Armstrong even read the bill. Yep, Joe, you're doing those of us in District 15 proud...

UPDATE: At least one of John Ford's bribes was caught on tape and played during his bond hearing this morning. This does not surprise me, as quotes of Ford in the indictments read as if they were transcribed from either audio or video tape. Neither am I surprised that the FBI confiscated two loaded handguns from Ford's office in Memphis.

EVEN MORE: Matt White has an excellent piece that puts the "Tennessee Waltz" into perspective. In regards to new ethics reforms, Matt writes:

"A new law would not have prevented this from happening. Bribery, extortion and public corruption are already illegal. The penalties for these crimes are stiff and some will pay those penalties. Bad people will do bad things, regardless of the law. Yesterday, we saw proof that while our system is made up of flawed people, the system worked."

Read the whole thing.

CAN YOU HANDLE MORE: Bill Hobbs and Matt White have much more to say about Wilder's irrational remarks. I have to agree with Matt in that it appears that Wilder is living in an alternate cosmos.

TN Code Section 39-13-102 says "aggravated assault" is either a Class C or D felony. Wouldn't that make his posession of guns illegal? (link to 39-13-102 )
Senator Burchett would argue with you on that Rob.

So would Senator Person, and Williams, and McNally, and Atchley.

I quote from a letter all five of these Senators signed and mailed to Republican voters in Senator Wilder's district during his re-election campaign in 2004:

"John Wilder is our dear friend and we trust him. He says what he believes and you can believe what he says. Our Speaker is an inspiration to us, because of his committment to conservative principles, his rock solid support of family values, and his willngness to do the right thing regardless of the consequences. We are better Senators because of John Wilder."
It is painfully obvious that Wilder has not bothered to read the indictments. If he had he would understand that it is clear that the accused were playing a very well rehersed roll. This was not some dangling carrot that a group of innocents happened upon.
Didn't Ford refer to himself as the "dealmaker"? You think he only uses that to undercover FBI agents? sheesh
Sounds to me like Wilder is a little concerned how close to home this business might hit. A thorough review of Wilder's finances may show some reason for his anger. Ford and the others were not clean prior to this investigation. These stings get put in place after more than a couple reports of past misbehavior. Jilted girlfriends are often the source of info leading to investigations and Ford has more than a couple upset ex-girlfriends.
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