GOPocrisy, Michigan Republicans — February 11, 2013 at 11:58 am

The rank hypocrisy of Michigan Republican Senator Joe Hune


Good for the goose but not for the gander

Last year, Michigan Republican Senator Joe Hune sponsored a bill, which was signed into law during the inflamed duck session, that prevents any school board member from voting on school district contracts if they or any family member are an employee covered by that contract. While this may seem reasonable to avoid conflicts of interest, it’s causing controversy in some school districts where school board members may have relatives who are teachers or district employees.

Mike Witt, president of the Howell Public Schools Board of Education, said it goes too far in preventing him and his wife, fellow board member Kim Witt, from voting on this year’s teachers’ contract because his sister-in-law is an educator with the school district.

“Any decision we make is based on what is best for the district, not any individual,” Mike Witt said.

Brighton Superintendent Greg Gray said he wasn’t aware of any potential conflicts regarding his district’s board. {…}

The new law describes family members as not only spouses and children but parents, siblings and in-laws as well. It isn’t a conflict under the law if a board member has children attending the local schools.

For Mike Witt, the new restrictions go too far.

“I only see my sister-in-law about a half-dozen times a year,” he said. “Frankly, I know more about our superintendent’s finances than I do my sister-in-law’s.” {…}

Mike Witt said he couldn’t understand why Hune can accept campaign contributions from the insurance industry while serving on the Senate Insurance Committee.

Witt is entirely correct: the bill represents an enormous level of hypocrisy from Hune. He sits on a Senate Health Policy Committee and is the chair of the Insurance Committee, making crucial decisions on legislation that affects these industries, industries that make financial contributions to Hune’s campaign.

Hune was elected to the Senate in 2010. In 2011 and 2012, Hune received over $21,000 in campaign donations from various insurance and health-related donors and he doesn’t even have to run for office again until 2014. This is, in a very real sense, “income” Hune receives (not to mention the favor that these donations curry.) Yet, there sits Senator Hune, voting on legislation that impacts the very donors he receives cash from.

But he’s worried that a teacher or lunchroom employee might get some benefit if they have in in-law on the school board? That there might be some conflict of interest? Please.

It’s hypocrisy — or, as I call it, GOPocrisy — at its worst and Joe Hune is the poster child.