Archive for July 24th, 2009

President Obama’s pork-filled spending bill certainly has not done much to help the economy (not a surprise since bigger government means a smaller private sector), but it has done a great job of lining the pockets of politicial insiders. The Denver Post has a story about Colorado’s governor using a no-bid contract to funnel a pile of money to his former law partners:

Gov. Bill Ritter turned down a $75-an-hour offer from the Colorado attorney general’s office to handle legal matters regarding the disbursement of federal stimulus funds, instead hiring his former law partners for up to six times that cost. …Ritter hired Hogan & Hartson through a no-bid contract. So far, the firm has been paid $40,000 from federal funds. Although Colorado has laws governing the circumstances under which the state can contract, the governor and other elected officials are exempt. In 1941, the state legislature buried a sentence in an unrelated section of the law that essentially permits elected officials to disregard procurement rules — including a requirement to seek multiple bids — when entering into contracts. …The March contract between the firm and the governor’s office is vague. A letter attached to the contract says Hogan & Hartson will represent the governor’s office in analyzing the recovery act and help ensure that the state “receive and distribute its full share” of the funds. Other documents that may shed more light on the work the firm is doing for taxpayers were withheld by the governor’s office on the grounds of “attorney-client privilege.”

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Back in the 1980s, the irreplaceable Walter Williams produced a documentary based on one of his more controversial books, The State Against Blacks. Someone has done a great service and posted the documentary on Youtube.com. Everything Walter said back then is true today – and just as applicable. The only discordant note is that when Walter refers to “welfare reform,” it is important to understand that he is talking about the expansion of handouts and centralization in the 1960s and 1970s, not the pro-market welfare reform of the 1990s.

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