E-I-E-I-O.

A “lucky” confluence of events prevented disgraced Senator Norm McAllister from adding insult to injury in his relationship with the State of Vermont.

Mr. McAllister failed to file the necessary paperwork to finalize his application for a $20,000. farm grant, so the state has been spared the trouble of snatching it back from him.

This near miss has shone a light on the peculiar absence of conflict of interest mechanisms governing such grants.

Except for his failure to complete the final stage of his application, sitting Senator McAllister was in line to receive what most small businesses would regard as quite a substantial government hand-out.

Of course the peripheral irony is that, as a legislator, Mr. McAllister himself has been the first to advocate for extra hurdles and humiliations for anyone who needs public assistance.

He didn’t similarly propose drug tests for recipients of the farm grant for which he applied.

I suspect an examination of Mr. McAllister’s public and private life would reveal many such ironies, but my point here is to ask how on earth a sitting senator is not disqualified from consideration for such a grant which was only awarded to 35 farmers in the state!

It occurs to me that Mr. McAllister may have already been too many times to the trough. Has anyone bothered to explore his grant application history?

And what about other legislators?  Who else is benefiting from state assistance to their businesses?

May I suggest that one item on next year’s agenda be to ban sitting legislators from seeking public support for their private business interests?  

Duh?

About Sue Prent

Artist/Writer/Activist living in St. Albans, Vermont with my husband since 1983. I was born in Chicago; moved to Montreal in 1969; lived there and in Berlin, W. Germany until we finally settled in St. Albans.

5 thoughts on “E-I-E-I-O.

  1. Isn’t awarding a grant to a senator who casts votes to determine the program’s very existence a significant conflict of interest?

  2. In light of the fact that Bill Sorrell is finally being investigated for ‘conflict of interest’ campaign contributions, it seems to me that a farmer State Senator who uses his office to get benefits from the state that other farmers can’t get, and also uses his office to advocate for cutting benefits to the poor out to be raked over the coals of misappropriations.  The dirty pre-verted bastard!  

    Yes, how much have other legislators benefited?  Is this why some of them run for office in the first place?

    Good story, Sue!  Seven Days ought to be asking this.  And maybe they will after reading your piece.

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