Can't be wrong

By AL DIAMON  |  July 8, 2009

"I personally do not feel comfortable making sweeping changes without understanding how they were recommended," Democratic state Senator Lisa Marraché of Waterville told the Portland Press Herald in 2007, after opposing modest ethical improvements proposed by a blue-ribbon commission.

Since the Legislature created the commission, figuring out how Marraché could have been unaware of its work remains a mystery on a par with how anyone could worship Bill Diamond's hair.

"What [the ethics legislation] needed was a lot of work for the committee to understand it," said Republican state Senator Debra Plowman of Hampden in the same story. "And there didn't seem to be interest in the bill to do that."

What part of the words "conflict of interest" Plowman couldn't understand remains something I don't understand.

In the wake of the failing grade on the national report, there have been some tepid comments from legislative leaders about the need to tighten things up. Unfortunately, they're usually accompanied by a disclaimer. After state Senate President Libby Mitchell told the Capitol News Service there were probably a few little loopholes that could be closed, she added, "But I do want to stress that I think we are pretty open. We are a small state and everybody knows everybody and people in a district know the people they elect and what they do for a living."

Translation: Don't bother me about ethics. I've got a flight to Argentina to catch.

Don't cry for me. But you can e-mail me at aldiamon@herniahill.net.

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