Who said money in politics doesn't corrupt?
The Republican Party in Virginia has resorted to what appears to be outright bribery in its ongoing effort to deny low-income residents in the state access to the Medicaid expansion authorized by Obamacare.
The Washington Post is reporting that Republicans offered to move Democratic state Sen. Phillip P. Puckett and his daughter into prestigious jobs in exchange for Puckett's resignation, which will flip the chamber into Republican hands. Pucket will officially accept the offer on Monday, the paper reported.
The Senate was on course to pass an expansion of Medicaid, as the law allows, while the House of Delegates, in GOP hands, aimed to block it. In such a scenario, Democrats hoped that Republicans would be blamed for the resulting government shutdown. With Republicans in control of both chambers, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) must now veto the GOP budget in order to force a showdown over Medicaid.
Democrats really need to clean house. As for Republicans, clearly they live by the maxim that if it can't be won, it can always be bought.
Update: No longer expected to resign, former Senator Puckett has resigned. He ought to be strung up by his toenails for that.
Sources familiar with Puckett's resignation, submitted this weekend, said the longtime Southwest Virginia senator cited family reasons for his sudden departure. At least two sources speculated that one of the family reasons involved Puckett's daughter, Martha P. Ketron.
Ketron, who was admitted to the bar in October 2006, was appointed last July to serve as a judge in Juvenile and Domestic relations Court in an interim capacity by judges of the 29th District Circuit Court, which covers Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell and Tazewell counties in Southwest Virginia.
But her bid for reappointment to a full, six-year term was put off earlier this year in the General Assembly, in part due to a tradition against awarding bench appointments to family members of sitting legislators.
Puckett may not be unemployed for long.
Del. Terry G. Kilgore, R-Scott, chairman of the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, said he is interested in Puckett taking a job with the commission and has discussed it with him.
"If he's available I think he'd be great for us," Kilgore said."He'd be a great asset because he knows the region, and he's a former banker and JLARC said we need more follow-up so he'd be a perfect fit for us."
Kilgore said the issue of Puckett's employment could come up at the Tobacco Commission's next meeting, which is scheduled for Wednesday. That schedule could change, however, if lawmakers are called back into session in Richmond to take up the budget.
I hope he's haunted by the angry spirits of dead poor people he helped kill.