The Senate Rules Committee did its level best to banish Norm McAllister to legislative limbo, but the Predator Senator shows little indication he’s willing to play along. After the Committee voted 3-2 to suspend him until his criminal case is over, McAllister said “I do not intend to go quietly,” and threatened a court battle over the move, either by himself or by constituents who support him. So what happens if the Senate votes to remove him on January 5, and McAllister or his allies convince a judge to stay the suspension while the lawsuit wends its way through the courts?
Well, then, he toddles right back to his desk on the Senate floor and sits there like a turd in the punchbowl. And your tax dollars will be at work, defending the Senate against the suit.
And it might lose. Legal opinions are split on the legality of suspension.
Senate Secretary John Bloomer said that suspension could be done simply and cleanly, while expulsion would require long and messy hearings. However, as Paul Heintz reported:
Luke Martland, the legislature’s chief counsel, disagreed. He argued that the effect of suspension would be similar to that of expulsion and would therefore require some sort of due process.
If this is turning into a slow-motion nightmare for the Senate, it may be an even bigger headache for Vermont Republicans, especially in Franklin County. If McAllister is so intent on keeping his seat, even in the face of overwhelming discomfort among his colleagues, then it’s hard to imagine he won’t run for re-election. Given the power of incumbency, he’d be very likely to win a Republican primary and appear on the November ballot. WHich could lead to the Republicans losing a seat they thought they had in the bag.
And then there’s this.
Even if the suspension sticks, and McAllister is found guilty of his charges, he could still return to the Senate. Bloomer said the state Constitution asserts that if voters re-elect McAllister with the knowledge of his conviction, he cannot be expelled.
“If he’s found guilty of something and he is re-elected in November, you can’t expel him,” Bloomer said.
Yep, that’s right. We may never be rid of this guy.