by Marion Marks
Patrick Williams current response is consistent, defending against complaints for accepting two reimbursements for the same expense items related to his legislative work. Certainly there is absolutely nothing wrong with the state reimbursing him for legitimate expenses incurred while performing his duties as an elected official. The problem everyone keeps trying to force him and the public to see, and that he vehemently says “but it’s legal,” is that his campaign committee ALSO writes him a check for the same items!
Common sense is that if it is legal, it’s only because the law is flawed!
Third graders, when asked about being paid twice for the same expense, frown and look at you as if you’re crazy. Third graders know they would be punished for turning in the same expense item twice to their parents. Parents may laugh, but we have a legislator who takes it seriously.
Are we so naive that we are being asked to believe this clear case of an impropriety can possible pass? I suggest a very simple solution. Ask a group of ministers, a broad group, if this passed their smell test.
Let’s suggest this scenario:
- A legislator is asked to assist a church with a problem that may require some state action.
2. The church agrees to reimburse the legislator for any expenses involved with solving the problem.
3. The problem is addressed and solved.
4. The legislator turns in his expenses to be reimbursed by the state, as work was in the normal course of work as an elected official.
5. The legislator turns in the expenses for reimbursement to the church as agreed.
6. The legislator turns in the expenses to his campaign committee, as per usual procedure.
7. All three reimburse the legislator…
The logical conclusion I draw is that the legislator is now “Triple Dipping!”
Wow, What a great job being an elected official!
Voters can’t be fooled by this flawed logic. Doubling down on this issue causes me grave concern about what would be acceptable in government plaza if this is business as usual, and I can only hope more people find similar concerns.
The chronology of Williams in explaining his expense reimbursements has gone as follows. First it was sloppy book keeping, blame the book keeper and write a check back to the campaign committee. Second, it’s never a violation, because the law doesn’t specifically disallow the practice. Now the “Double-Down” is that all of us who are keep asking for an admission that something is wrong and we want to see his records as to how he treated the “income” and other issues are picking on something that is really a non-issue.
If I’m the only one troubled by this, I admit that I have a different system of determining what passes as acceptable. I can only hope other Shreveporters, and for that matter those in law enforcement and the justice system, are as troubled as I am. I haven’t made up my mind who would serve best as the next mayor, but the decision is getting easier to make.