Patsy Brumfield steps in deep doo-doo alleging Hatch Act violations by Public Safety Commissioner – Sun Herald covers for the “homeboy” with “everybody does it” story

First, Brumfield’s story from NEMS360.com: Simpson says he’s ‘not a candidate,’ so no Hatch Act Violation:

Stephen Simpson, who is running for attorney general, says he is not a candidate yet and therefore can’t be in violation of a federal law prohibiting state or local appointed executives from political party campaigns, if they administer federally funded programs.

Simpson, a Republican, is the appointed commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. On Jan. 14, he launched a statewide tour to announce his intention to be a candidate for attorney general…

The Daily Journal’s questions about Simpson’s candidacy began with the appearance of anti-drunk driving TV ads prominently featuring Simpson and his voice several days after he launched his campaign Jan. 14.

Next, the deep doo-doo shoveled up by and reported on Y’all Politics in Anatomy of a press hit:

So, Patsy’s got her intellectual curiosity up, and she needs an expert. So, who should she call? How about a former US Attorney that would theoretically have prosecuted similar sorts of violations? Patsy calls Brad Pigott, who certainly fits the former US Attorney category. Pigott’s a reputable and smart guy, but he’s not unconflicted…Pigott’s got a dog in this hunt other than just being a Democrat as Patsy mentions in the article. He’s a big Jim Hood donor…

Last, but by no means least, today’s Sun Herald story: To the incumbents go the spoils: Taxpayer-funded agency advertising and ‘electioneering’ can help officeholder during election time:

It’s a perk of incumbency, especially in statewide or higher office: You have access to a taxpayer-funded or program-funded public relations and advertising machine. If used effectively, it can spread your name and goodwill to voters in a way that would break the bank for a challenger.

SLABBED reports, you decide if Patsy launched a biased attack on Simpson or raised an important issue for voters to consider – but be sure to follow the links and read all three stories before making up your mind.

6 thoughts on “Patsy Brumfield steps in deep doo-doo alleging Hatch Act violations by Public Safety Commissioner – Sun Herald covers for the “homeboy” with “everybody does it” story”

  1. The 2 Simpson boys are fluffers. I saw Alan’s story and I was moved to then read Patsy Brumfield’s article. As an auditor that has checked Hatch Act compliance I’ll add this is no small matter. So Alan dials up a new media hit for the GOP by attacking the messenger instead of addressing all the points made in Brumfield’s article.

    Big Jim Simpson was a political heavyweight on the coast and in the legislature in his day. The boys have been living off that legacy ever since with the help of the local media. Patsy does not have that hometown cognative bias and it looks like the best reporting on Homie Simpson will be done out of Tupelo.

    By the way I liked Dweebert Hosebag’s $20 calendars. By God he’ll keep making sure no undocumented hispanics vote while squandering taxpayer dollars hand over fist.

    sop

  2. Although Geoff Pender’s story went to the heart of the matter – the lack of a controlling state law and the practice of ‘electioneering’ which is, for all practical purposes, an elected official doing a better job of what he was elected to do – I think the upcoming election is going to have a strong south v north flavor that will be reflected in media at both ends of the state.

    Patsy’s story pointed to what I think is an important distinction – an appointed official like Simpson who has not run for statewide office and lacks the name recognition of someone who has and is running for re-election.

    That Brad Pigott, one but not the only “expert” she cited, is a Hood supporter would only be relevant if she overlooked an equally qualified Simpson supporting expert that shared Pigott’s opinion. Somehow, I think not.

  3. The Hatch Act is used by senior officials to threaten powerless people like Head Start workers from running for office or participating in politics but it never is used to stop blatant misuse of discretionary authority by senior officials who use taxpayer funds for political purposes like in this case.

    What is the source of the money for the drinking and driving ad campaign? If these are federal grant funds then someone needs to drop a dime with the appropriate Inspector General to investigate whether the self-promoting campaign complies with federal rules.

  4. I wasn’t impressed with Alan Lange’s argument that Pigott was biased because he attended a meeting with a good many other lawyers with Hood to discuss Katrina litigation. “Pigott” where have I heard that name before.

  5. We need a Hatch Act in Mississippi. That would clear out a lot of the good ole boyz who don’t do anything but use taxpayer dollars for their own use. An incumbent runs on his record and I think Hood has a very good record, IMO.

  6. I don’t really see this as a Hatch Act issue. The purpose of the Hatch Act is to prevent government officials from forcing the government employees under them to work in political campaigns or to support political candidates. In my experience, the Hatch Act is selectively invoked as a partisan political tool, but is not properly or objectively enforced.

    This case is more about misuse of the $430,000 federal grant in support of DUI enforcement. You don’t need the Hatch Act to find something very wrong with this. This just calls for the US DOT to stop letting the states spend federal funds in stupid ways. I doubt anyone can produce any evidence that TV ads featuring a politician will convince people to stop drinking and driving. If a Congressman tried to earmark funds for something this self-serving and wasteful, everyone would justifiably object in strong terms, but when state officials take federal grants and then use them for their own political agenda, pork, and patronage, no one seems to care.

    See page 60 for the state’s plan for the federal grant: http://www.nhtsa.gov/nhtsa/whatsup/SAFETEAweb/FY10/HSPs/MSFY10HSP.pdf

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