Specifically, the rumor is Transportation Commissioner John Schroer has been calling individual legislators and making only slightly-veiled threats that unless they vote with the governor to pass Obamacare/Medicaid expansion, certain road projects in that legislator’s district might – ahem — meet an untimely demise.
If true, this would mean the administration is practicing the very same “thug politics” as the governor’s new BFF Barack Obama. RTP has reported on the administration’s “strong arming” before.
All this raises the question: are such tactics illegal? Does threatening a legislator before a vote violate state law? Hell, for that matter, does this violate federal law? Since this issue involves federal money, maybe some enterprising assistant US Attorney might want to make a name for themselves and launch a federal investigation (No, wait. This is Eric Holder’s Justice Dept., so that probably won’t happen.). Naw, it’s probably not illegal — but it sure exposes this administration for their sleazy unethical tactics. So much for Haslam’s “nice guy” image.
Nevertheless, the commissioner as well as anyone else in the governor’s hire better hope that none of those legislators he called have recorded any phone conversations. Why if that were to happen, it would be a big problem, wouldn’t it?
Just ask Nixon.