Favorite

Down from Gingrich 

A few years back, former Arkansas Congressman Ed Bethune stayed busy as an “ethics adviser” to Newt Gingrich, who was virtually ethic-proof. You’d think a man couldn’t sink much lower, but now Bethune’s a lawyer for U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, the feral House majority leader. DeLay has been admonished by the House Ethics Committee for linking political donations to legislative favors (or, realistically, for doing it more openly than is considered polite); for siccing federal aviation authorities on Texas Democrats fleeing DeLay’s plan to redistrict them out of existence, and for offering to support the House candidacy of a Michigan lawmaker’s son in return for the lawmaker’s vote for a Medicare prescription drug bill that benefits drug companies and harms senior citizens. In a better-ordered world, such behavior would invite criminal prosecution, but this is a bitterly divided Washington, and the mild scolding DeLay received was probably as much penalty as could be expected. Bethune crowed that DeLay got off with no charges filed, no special counsel appointed, and no investigative subcommittee. Bethune knows about avoiding penalties. During the Great S and L Caper, some presidents of failed S and L’s were prosecuted, among them Jim McDougal, a friend of Bill Clinton whose tiny Madison Guaranty failed at a cost to taxpayers of $73 million. Republican regulators went after McDougal hard. On the other hand, no charges were ever filed in the case of First Federal, the state’s largest S and L, which had been headed for a time by Bethune, the chairman of the Republican State Committee. First Federal eventually went under at a cost to taxpayers of $833 million. Even when an FBI memo said that First Federal was “believed to have much greater prosecutive potential than Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan,” Republican officials remained firmly uninterested in pursuing the matter. Bethune left First Federal before it was taken over by federal regulators, getting out with a $368,000 settlement after only eight months on the job. Jim McDougal died in prison. Not until the election was over did we come to appreciate Dale Morfey. Had we known earlier, a kind word from the Times might have pushed him over the top in the 3rd Congressional District race. Or over 3 percent anyway. (He got 2.6.) A few days after the election, Morfey was fired from the Fort Smith printing company where he’d worked for 27 years. A policeman escorted him from the plant. Morfey said he’d protested a new random drug-testing policy that the company planned to impose on its workers. He called it “dehumanizing … Corporate America has assumed the position of slave master.” Right you are, Dale. And the policy is no more tolerable because the masters have taken to calling the slaves “associates.”
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Most Shared

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be deputy White House press secretary

    Donald Trump announced additional White House staff today, notably including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Event Calendar

« »

January

S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Putin and Trump

    • Good one, Al. Hell hath no fury, and all that happy horse-shit. I hope Gene…

    • on January 20, 2017
  • Re: Putin and Trump

    • Make that "old hack."

    • on January 20, 2017
  • Re: Putin and Trump

    • Oh dear - It is me, E.E.W - I'll confess - but not so much…

    • on January 20, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation