Thursday, July 22, 2010
Gall and Greed of the Greasy
Disgraced Republican Benton County Judge David Bisbee is once again trying to slop at the public trough and throw some taxpayer funds to defeated Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson. You'll recall that Bisbee was charged with feathering his own nest by rejecting a low bid for county work and hiring his own firm. An all-Republican Benton County jury acquitted him of three charges after he and his lawyer put on a defense claiming that Bisbee couldn't read or write, so he was ignorant of the ethics law that he voted for in the legislature and later ignored. The jury was hung on whether he was guilty of using his public office to advance the economic interest of Gary Wierman, his longtime associate at Valley Homes.
Now comes Bisbee asking the judge to order taxpayers to pay his lawyer fees! His main man, Asa Hutchinson, filed a sworn statement that his normal fee was $660 an hour, which is not bad for a man who voted against raising the minimum wage for common folks. Hutchinson says he gave Bisbee a cut rate of only $400 an hour for himself and $200 an hour for his son. The Arkansas Public Defender Commission pays private attorneys $90-$110 an hour when they are appointed to represent people facing the death penalty, but the Hutchinson defense team was billing at $775 an hour for misdemeanors. The bill came to $73,044.85, and Dave and Asa think that you should pay them.
If David Bisbee really thought that all defendants deserved equal justice in Benton County, he would have presented a county budget with funds to pay $400 an hour to the lawyers of all defendants who were acquitted or had charges dropped. It could be called the Doug Norwood Retirement Fund or something, but Bisbee didn't recommend a nickel for anyone else's legal fees. He just wants special treatment for himself, and he wants taxpayers to come up with $73,044.85 so he can pay his pal Asa for the illiteracy defense.
If Asa Hutchinson really thought that all defendants deserved to have their legal fees paid if they were not convicted or charged, he would have introduced an appropriation bill in Congress to pay millions to the lawyers who defended the Clintons during the six-year Whitewater witch hunt conducted by Kenneth Starr and the unsuccessful impeachment trial led my none other than Asa Hutchinson. But, he didn't. He just wants special treatment for himself, and he wants taxpayers to come up with $73,044.85 to pay him for the Bisbee illiteracy defense.
These Benton County Republicans are against spending public funds for an HIV Clinic, wastewater treatment, public health care, or unemployment benefits for those who have lost their jobs. They have no problem with spending your tax dollars to line their own pockets at $400 an hour or to pay their personal bills of more than $73,000. Shame has left the building. The local Teabaggers don't seem to have any problem with this, so maybe the relatively sane few in Benton County shouldn't either.