Rep. Lois Deberry, the number 2 person in the House of Representatives, has admitted to accepting gift certificates for a spa and $200 in spending money from a good friend at E-Cycle on a chauffeured trip to a casino.
I wonder if the news that investigations were still ongoing helped her decide to come forward. (Or perhaps, it just took weeks of consulting with attorneys and friends to get the story straight.) Rumors around Capitol Hill are hot.
I wonder if indicted members are beginning the "roll over" process where they divulge information on each other in order to help in their own cases and plea-bargaining.
This entire story reminds me of another similar story of the famous "who's going with me to Vegas?"remark Deberry recorded by an undercover reporter from News Channel 5 in 2003. From NewsChannel 5 reportDeberry said:
"Anybody interested in going to the Super Bowl with us-and Vegas-let us know by tomorrow."
"Sherry [Hopkins, lobbyist] is our host, and we are hoping the Titans win the Super Bowl and we'll be in Vegas and we'll be having a great time."
News Channel 5 sounded the alarm back in 2003. In the February 2003 article, they reported: "Yet, despite taxpayers' demand for change-which ushered in a new governor and 27 new legislators-a lot remains the same."
True then, true now.
Another reminder from this undercover operation:
Dropping hints for Super Bowl tickets with his lobbyist friends, Ford says "I need four tickets. I'll take two, but I need four."
"Later, Ford confides to an undercover NewsChannel 5 producer: 'I always get tickets.'"
"'My friends don't take me to the Super Bowl," the producer tells Ford."
"'These really are not friends,' he replies. 'These are corporate people, like corporate sponsors."
All these "corporate sponsors" sure do spend a lot of money on gifts (and of course, a lot of bills get passed.) It seems like one more of the long tailed cats is about to get rocked on, but I'm not holding my breath. Nothing happened last time and these two were re-elected. I guess it only makes them more brazen.
Name recognition for incumbents is hard to beat, especially in a primary. And democrats seldom have primaries against incumbents, no matter what they do. I think this leads to the feeling of invincibility and cockiness that many of our legislators possess.
By the way, guess who else was on NewsChannel 5's 2003 report? Sen. Jerry Cooper.
It's worth looking back at this report and asking why anything hasn't ever been done to improve the image and integrity of our legislature.
For a look back, go to:
Now Speaker Naifeh is trying to cover for his choice (Lois Deberry) to be on the
ethics committee saying more or less that it is not so bad really, that $200 is
in the realm of an acceptable gift (bribe?).
I remember a story told by Teddy Roosevelt where he asked a rich woman if she
would sleep with him for a million dollars to which she replied "yes." Then he
asked if she would sleep with him for five dollars. She replied "No, what kind
of woman do you think I am?" Teddy shot back "that has already been decided.
Now we are just determing the price."
I guess the going rate in Nashvegas $200 in nickels.
This legislator is asking that Ms. Deberry step down from her leadership
position in the House as well as any position or role on the ethics committee.
As a leader of the House, she should be setting the highest example for all
members. Instead, she's setting an example of why we so desperately need ethics