Rough Sledd-ing

Friday, January 1, 2010

Waldo Jaquith sums up my feelings on the Robert Sledd story:
Robert Sledd would love to be Secretary of Commerce. But he also wants to be on the board of directors of a few companies, including ginormous Richmond-based tobacco company Universal Corporation. And Bob McDonnell figures that's A-OK. This is *exactly* the crap that I feared from McDonnell. It's not a matter of partisanship; thinking that the secretary of commerce can oversee himself is simply unbridled asininity, the very worst of Bush-era business "regulation" that brought us our recession.
Conservative blogger Norm Leahy agrees:
This ought to be a no-brainer -- if you're on boards of companies that might benefit from your government position, you have an obligation to give up either the government job, or the board seats.

No conflicts, no appearance of conflicts and no headaches for the boss.

Then there's this:
Additionally, Sledd said, "I kind of need that income."

Then the choice becomes even simpler.
Finally, here's Vivian Paige on this situation:
Public service is not about personal gain. If Mr. Sledd finds that he cannot make do with the salary of the position offered, if for him public service does not carry with it a higher calling, then he should decline the appointment. We don’t need in our government people who cannot and will not relinquish situations that are ripe for conflict. I’m quite sure that McDonnell can easily find someone equally qualified who is willing to do the people’s business for the price offered.

If not, then we have a much, much bigger problem.
I couldn't agree more with Waldo, Norm and Vivian on this one. So, the question is: will Bob McDonnell tell Mr. Sledd that the type of arrangement he's contemplating is completely unacceptable? Or, will McDonnell allow our state government to become a de facto arm of wealthy corporations? What McDonnell decides to do here will be highly revealing about the next four years.