Senator Gloria Butler, Secretary
Senator Hardie Davis
Senator Lester Jackson
re: Balfour Sanctions
Dear Democrats on the Senate Ethics Committee (Minus George Hooks):
I write in regards to the Ethics Committee meeting held behind closed doors to decide the punishment of Senator Don Balfour for violating ethics rules and Georgia laws. In that meeting, it was decided that Senator Balfour should receive a $5,000 fine for defrauding the state – an accusation that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is now reportedly investigating.
The vote to issue those sanctions was apparently unanimous save one Republican Senator, Josh McKoon, so using my powers of deduction I have ascertained that each one of you voted for the sanction, which was received by anyone paying attention as a slap on the wrist.
Why, I ask you, did you feel the need to go along with such a result?
Ethics is the one clear cut issue voters say they care about. You could have voted no, walked outside to a waiting press conference, and spoke to the heavens up on high about the travesty (and it is) that the Senate declined to punish a violation of the public trust. And you would have been right and just in doing so. You may have even been able to change the result.
That apparently is not sufficient justification, so try this on for size. You, as Democrats, are in the minority. Ethics should be your issue. Ethics is the frying pan you hit the majority over the head with repeatedly until you are in the majority. If you can be the party speaking truth to power, you will get disaffected voters. You will get movement. You may even convince the middle (as well as gain the sympathy, if not the vote of the far right) to back you in elections. And, perhaps most importantly, you would give the left a reason to believe.
Belief leads to support, both electorally and financially. You represent a party who hasn’t had the best run of luck lately. When you have an opportunity to do something that is good both morally and electorally in the future, answer the call. You, and everyone who believes in either good government or a two party system, will be glad you did.