Here’s another sign that Vermont’s Founding Fathers may have been drunk when they wrote our Constitution. Which, among other flaws, appears to give the Legislature sole authority over its own ethics.
Today, the Senate Rules Committee showed why that’s such a bad idea. While the Judiciary Committee has been busily slashing a proposed Ethics Commission into a glorified filing cabinet, the Rules Committee has been developing a parallel process for its own members.
Today, the Rules Committee adopted an ethics process for the Senate. And according to Seven Days’ Nancy Remsen, the Senate ethics process is designed, first and foremost, to ensure that its members are protected from public embarrassment. (To clarify: she didn’t say that, I did. But her outline of the procedure allows no other interpretation.)
As I’ve written before, the House Ethics Panel is a sorry-ass excuse for a watchdog. The Senate ethics panel won’t be any better, and may be significantly worse.