Former Representative Chris Newton finally told the truth at his sentencing hearing Thursday:
"We have to recognize that the corruptive influence of money in our legislative process seeks to promote the interest of the few at the expense of the many,"
Two of the biggest players in Tennessee’s "Good ‘Ol Boy" network disputed Newton’s claim.
"I disagree with former Representative Newton," Naifeh, a Covington Democrat, said at his weekly press meeting Thursday. "He said some things that I’ve just not experienced in my 32 years here. Frankly I was a little surprised."
. . . "We are all sorry that that that Representative Newton has that opinion …," said House Majority Leader Kim McMillan, D-Clarksville. "I think the way we do business is the way the people ask us to do business; and that’s to study up on the issues, make informed votes, and move forward."
And by "forward" McMillan means, "back to the old way of doing business surrounded by the corruptive influence of special interest group money."
Unfortunately, the online story doesn’t include comments by Democratic Representative Frank Buck that were in the on-air version. Buck, a long-time and often lone voice in support of stronger ethics reform, said that Newton’s comments were an accurate description of how business is done in the Tennessee Legislature.
Given their ethical track records, I’m more inclined to believe Frank Buck than I am to believe Jimmy Naifeh and Kim McMillan. It’s time for them, and the rest of the entrenched leadership to go.