Thursday, August 02, 2007

Progress Ohio Precursor Accuses Brennan of Buying Votes in CO

The Beacon Journal is reporting that ProgressActionNow, the group in Colorado that gave mitotic birth to our own ProgressOhio, is accusing charter school impresario David Brennan of "buying" a vote on the Colorado School Board. For some time, members of the Board have been trying to shut down a Life Skills Center there. (Apparently people in Colorado think a graduation rate in the twenties is a bad thing. Must be the mountain air.)

Recently the Board voted 4-3 to give Life Skills time to get its act together. ProgressActionNow notes that one of those votes was that of member and former Colorado legislator Bob Schaffer. According to the ProgActNow site, Schaffer's voting record has long been notably abject in his fealty to business interests.

The charge in this case is a familiar one: Brennan has given serious campaign money to Schaffer. Like most intersections of campaign contributions and friendly votes, this is less "scandal" than "the way things work." One can always argue that the candidate's governing philosophy preexists and attracts the contribution.

On the other hand, there is something particularly troubling about members of a regulatory board taking campaign contributions from people running regulated businesses. This is something fundamentally different than voting on legislation that happens to benefit a contributor in a certain industry. In some cases, these contributions are proscribed. For example, no health care provider that gets Medicaid money can give contributions to a candidate for Attorney General because the AG is responsible for enforcing Medicaid fraud issues.

And by the way, I'd be good with adding gambling machine companies to AG blacklist.