Look before you leap

In August 2011, Kleefisch introduced Assembly Bill 235, which would force judges  to uphold premarital agreements when it came to the division of property and  maintenance payments, formerly known as alimony.

-State Journal

Politics are politics are nasty are dumb, as we opined about yesterday. People elected to serve the broader interests of their constituents shouldn’t need to be chided for auctioning off access to lawmaking, but they do.

Rep. Joel Kleefisch got busted for giving special access to a wealthy, divorced donor who wanted to see legislation passed that would relieve him of towering child support obligations. The State Journal dug up another example of this unscrupulous hotshot trying to pry open the door to the capitol several years ago with a similar measure.

Politicians like Mr. Kleefisch should realize several things. First, just because a guy gives his campaign money doesn’t mean he places any value on the success of the next campaign. Some donors aren’t adherents of the cause, they’re just looking for a paddle at the auction.

He should also realize that his wife is the state’s lieutenant governor. She was in 2011, and she continued to be while the most recent legislation was being written, and then withdrawn in a hurricane of well-earned criticism. There’s a higher standard.

Not a very high standard, but higher than the dim light most in the state’s legislature is held to.

Lastly, on the topic of the cause and adherents of it…if Republican members of the legislature care about a) the public image of the party broadly b) their own political future and c) not looking like absolute boobs – then they should stop doing dumb things like writing legislation on behalf of special interest donors. At the very least, they shouldn’t make it so darn obvious.

If there’s anything voters are most sick of, it’s hypocrites, like members of a party that espouses family values and personal responsibility while simultaneously writing legislation sweet-nothing’ed into their ears by wealthy deadbeat dads who happen to have loose checkbooks.

About the writer: Chris Rochester has worked in communications and finance for a state Senate and congressional campaign, consulted on numerous Assembly and local races, and has held leadership roles in his local Republican Party. He's communications director for the MacIver Institute. Commentary here is strictly his own.