June 23, 2024

The Nerve Archive

Where Government Gets Exposed

Where Was the Outrage?



On its face, it sure looked bad to us.

Here at The Nerve, we’re always amazed by the things that don’t outrage – the revelations that ought to result in hearings and headlines, but for some reason don’t.

This week, with subject of income disclosure being debated in the General Assembly, we were reminded of one of the stories we thought would have shocked and awed, but didn’t. It was Rick Brundrett’s story from October 13, 2014. In that story, Brundrett revealed that an engineering firm belonging to a longtime state lawmaker had once had a $12,000 contract with the state-funded Will Lou Gray School.

During a budget committee meeting the year before, a subcommittee staffer had asked the director of the school, Pat Smith, “What would it take to fully fund [the school]?” The director was pleasantly surprised, asked for a sizeable increase, and got it in the following year’s state budget.

The staffer? He worked for the very Ways and Means subcommittee chaired by the above-mentioned House member.

So – lawmaker offers budget hike, state agency gets budget hike, state agency hires lawmaker’s firm.

Of course, the lawmaker had a tidy explanation, and maybe that explanation was sound and believable. But we thought the revelation at least looked bad enough to cause a stir. What do you think?

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The Nerve