To the GOP Senate Caucus:
Don Balfour was found “not guilty” today on criminal charges. He won’t be going to jail. That is settled.
His position with the Senate GOP caucus now hangs in the balance. His suspension as a Senator expired with the not guilty verdict. The question at hand is whether Don Balfour is a Republican in good standing.
Don Balfour’s defense is that he was too absent mindedly negligent to be held criminally liable. That’s a fine standard to set for the caucus.
Ignored in the trial was the fact that Balfour was made publicly aware of these charges in 2010. He did nothing about them until new Senate leadership made it clear they would no longer shield him from what was coming. In fact, he has already been fined $5,000 by the Senate for violating Senate rules.
Balfour argued that he shouldn’t have even been tried by a jury of commoners. He made it clear he needed to be judged by his actual peers. That puts your judgment squarely into play.
Arguments that this was just over a few dollars and clerical errors are misdirection. This is “I’ve been doing the same thing for 20 years and they keep re-electing me” Don Balfour.
It should not be lost on you that at this same time the State Ethics Commission has hired an outside attorney to act as a Receiver. We are a state that has declared it’s Ethics process bankrupt.
At a minimum, the GOP caucus needs to have a face to face meeting before declaring Balfour one of your club. He has abused his power. He has abused the taxpayers money. And he can’t even tell a judge and jury how much his private employer pays him.
This is a critical point of determining where GOP Senate standards lie. Please spend the appropriate amount of time and debate before you try to pretend this never happened.