Governor rigs board, increases taxpayers’ share to pay for oil spills caused by his family’s company.
Pilot Oil/Flying J gets big financial break.
The opening lines in the Tennessean story say it all:
After taking office, Gov. Bill Haslam reconstituted an obscure board that enforces environmental rules for the industry that helped make him the richest elected official in America.
Since then, the Underground Storage Tank and Solid Waste Disposal Control Board has taken steps to shift the financial burden of cleaning up toxic spills at gas stations and truck stops from business owners to taxpayers.
Bill Haslam has skirted dangerously close to corrupt crony capitalism several times before (i.e., remember Jones LaSalle and fracking schemes on state land?). But in this case he blew right past the line of impropriety and handed his company – the same company he refused to put in a blind trust and which has made him a billionaire – a huge break paid for by the taxpayers.
What is it with this governor? Is he:
- or all of the above?
The hubris here is astonishing. Our Governor is a major stockholder in a company that is (still) under federal investigation for ripping off customers and which has already netted about a dozen felony convictions, and yet Bill Haslam thinks it is okay to pull off his version of “Manuel Rebate” using taxpayers as the patsies. (“Le me introduce you to my leetle friend…”)
This is not good for the Republicans in Tennessee — crap rolls downhill, you know. Why, it’s enough to make the likes of Ryan Haynes think he can misuse state party money to pay the wife of his political director who then goes out and tries to defeat incumbent Republicans. Or a Speaker with $1.3 million in her personal campaign accounts who only uses that money to pay off her friends while she goes out and recruits candidates to run against fellow Republicans. And don’t get us started on her covering for her cronies’ sexual harassment accusations — the same sexual harassment that she claims she is fighting in the House..
“After all, if the Governor can get away with it, so can we….”