This article in the Alaska Dispatch News is a great piece – but there isn’t much found as far as an inappropriate action on the part of Rep. Tammie Wilson. She did what all legislators do. Pork barrel procurement is currently the standard way of doing things as far as the Capital budget is concerned. It has been this way for years.
The good news is perhaps modern media can root out the flaws with this system and apply public pressure to bring about change. Legislative spending must be put under a microscope; applicable ethics rules are needed; and, the state procurement rules must be expanded to address the issue of using undue influence for direct Legislative grants.
Five-year Legislative grants (administered by Department of Commerce, Division of Community & Regional Affairs, DCRA) are a scandal waiting to happen! State administrators are hard pressed to impose conditions on grants named directly by the Legislature. I know this for a fact as a former DCRA director. I do believe DCRA is trying to make headway in this area, but change must come down from the top administrators and the legislators. Staff cannot do it.
I hope Governor Walker and Commerce Commissioner Hladick will introduce legislation to audit and clean up this mess.
Keep it up Governor Walker. It seems with every new day comes another mess in the government to clean up; legislative grants are a big one (millions of dollars). I hope the Administration takes it on; I remain optimistic.
LeadDog /cc 2015