Monday, July 20, 2009

Why The Pickering Relationship Matters to Us

Those who claim that the lawsuit filed by Leisha Pickering against Elizabeth Creekmore Byrd is merely a matter of private concern might consider this question: what if Rep. Chip Pickering had divorced Leisha and married Elizabeth Creekmore Byrd while he was in office? In that case, House of Representatives Rule 28 and the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 would probably have required him to report Ms. Byrd's financial holdings, to disclose to the public possible conflicts of interest. We have previously discussed one major legislative issue with ramifications for Cellular South, a company owned in part by Ms. Byrd and on which she serves as a member of the board of directors.

So if the financial holdings of a spouse are matters of public interest -- because the public has the right to evaluate their Representative's record in the light of his or her personal interests -- is it that much of a stretch to think it matters whether a Representative's romantic relationship might warrant concern?

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