You can’t always get what you want …
Maybe if we type slowly, Nevada’s elected officials will have a better chance of comprehending what we mean when we talk about ethics and influence-peddling. So far, though, we have our doubts.
The latest revelation came from financial disclosure statements filed last week that showed seven state legislators accepted free tickets to a Rolling Stones concert in November from the lending company Ameriquest.
There’s nothing illegal about the legislators – both Democrats and Republicans – taking freebies, at least that we know about. And the financial reports ensure that we are aware of the free tickets, so voters may decide for themselves whether they constitute a lapse in judgment.
For their part, lawmakers Richard Perkins, Barbara Buckley, John Oceguera, Morse Arberry and Chris Giunchigliana, all Democrats, and Republicans Frances Allen and Scott Sibley, seem in agreement that their opinions can’t be bought for the price of a $250 concert ticket.
Which begs a few questions:
n Roughly how much would it cost to buy your influence?
n What did you think the concert tickets were for? A donation to charity? Because scalpers just couldn’t get rid of them?
n If you were not an elected member of the Nevada Legislature, would Ameriquest or anybody else be handing you free Rolling Stones tickets?
We also wonder if these legislators weren’t aware that Ameriquest at the time was being sued in 49 states for ripping off poor people through high interest rates. Or was that simply a coincidence?
Politicians sometimes complain that the public and press just don’t get it. Even if they do nothing wrong, they’re being held to a higher standard that says the appearance of wrongdoing – taking freebies, for example – is enough to get them vilified.
We understand perfectly well, thank you. When Ameriquest’s representative offered you free tickets, you had a choice: Take them or politely decline. Your response is all we need to know.