House Rep. Scott Tipton, State Senator Ray Scott and Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese all were recently outed in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel for spreading false information on social media that was put out by Colorado Counties, Inc.
The false story went like this: Governor Jared Polis was intentionally withholding federal funds intended for local governments under the Coronavirus relief bill approved by Congress last month, and he was going to use those badly-needed funds to balance the state’s budget instead, forsaking people in rural Colorado who desperately needed the funds.
They didn’t read the bill
In truth, the bill Congress approved designated relief funds only to state and local governments that serve populations of over 500,000 people.
The CARES Act states:
“A unit of local government eligible for receipt of direct payment includes a county, municipality, town, township, village, parish, borough, or other unit of general government below the State level with a population that exceeds 500,000.”
“Exceeds 500,000” means eligible units of government must serve a population OVER 500,000.
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English writer Lord Acton once said “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
The House of Representatives proved Lord Acton correct yesterday when, as their first act as the majority in the 115th House of Representatives, Republicans met in secret, at night behind closed doors, and voted to amend House rules to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE).
The OCE is responsible for investigating corruption and misconduct by House members. It was created in 2008 after Randy “Duke” Cunningham, a former Republican representative from California, was sentenced to prison on bribery and other criminal charges he incurred while in office. The OCE perhaps best known for its investigations into the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, and investigating former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who in 2010 was convicted on criminal charges of conspiracy to launder corporate money into political donations. In his defense, DeLay argued he was improperly convicted for just “doing what everybody was doing.”
If overall Republicans felt they were serving their constituents honestly and ethically in the best way they knew how, they probably wouldn’t give much thought to the OCE. But instead, they focused on it quickly and early with an eye towards destroying it. So why carry out an attack aimed at constraining the OCE, if not to pave the way for unfettered unethical activities like those we’ve already seen so much of in Congress?
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