Wednesday, April 04, 2012

More bipartisan Frankfort "hanky panky"

When the Securities and Exchange investigation of Kentucky's pension plan pay-to-play scandal finally blows up in a few short years, state Rep. Mike Cherry's comment about the legislative coverup will look particularly silly.

Rather than ban the practice of "placement agent" middlemen wasting millions of public dollars in the moribund Kentucky Retirement Systems, the legislature just made them permanent fixtures in Frankfort's political swamp. 

Cherry, the House State Government Committee Chairman, spoke to the Frankfort State Journal about his bill, HB 300, which didn't ban the wasteful practice. Instead the bill requires them to register with the toothless Executive Branch Ethics Commission.

“Having them register as lobbyists precludes any hanky panky regarding contributions and the like,” Cherry said.

This is a completely absurd thing to say because registering them in this way doesn't even require them to report their placement agent income, much less preclude in any way the vast amounts of contribution hanky panky that now gets to continue with state sanction.

Former KRS Board of Trustees member Chris Tobe says the state pension system will require $600 million annual payments starting in about three years. Enabling this waste and corruption will loom much larger when that happens.

The problem is that our representatives in Frankfort should be taking steps to correct this mess. Covering it up will just make it harder to fix later.