The Worst Governors in America

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The folks over at Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington have released their annual list of the worst governors in America and it makes for fascinating reading.

There are 11 governors on the list, it includes nine republicans and two democrats, and every single region of the country is represented.

Gov. Haley Barbour (R-Miss.)
Gov. Donald Carcieri (R-R.I.)
Gov. Jim Gibbons (R-Nev.)
Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.)
Gov. David Paterson (D-N.Y.)
Gov. Sonny Perdue (R-Ga.)
Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas)
Gov. Bill Richardson (D-N.M.)
Gov. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)
Gov. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.)
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.)

Whether or not your governor is on the list, you’ll definitely want to take a few minutes to read this. The sheer audacity of some of these politicians is almost inspiring. I mean, they know their every move is being watched, scrutinized even, and yet they do stuff that, if true, basically represents a giant middle finger to their constituents. You are truly bold, gentlemen.

Here are a few of the highlights.

Gov. Mike Rounds of South Dakota used a government plane to shuttle himself and a half a dozen family members to his son’s high school basketball games. I like the way this guy thinks. My cousin Matthew manages an all-female roller derby squad and I’m sure our parent company, TheStreet.com, wouldn’t mind if I chartered a helicopter on the company's dime to attend those matches (are they called matches?).

Now, in Gov. Rounds' defense, he is a licensed pilot so he often flew the plane himself and he did use campaign contributions to reimburse the state for these trips. So it wasn’t all the taxpayers paying for these trips. Just his contributors. I’m sure they’re thrilled. Well, the people of South Dakota weren’t pleased. According to CREW, “Following the revelation of Gov. Rounds’s personal use of state aircraft, South Dakota residents voted by referendum to restrict state aircraft use to official purposes.” I just hope the kid was starting.

The stuff they dug up on Gov. Arnold Shwarzenegger is also incredible. You would think that politicians who come into office already rich and powerful are less likely to owe favors to supporters and would be less corrupt. Aren’t we naïve? This guy has amassed a fortune through his movies and business deals, yet according to CREW, he has set up a network of nonprofits that pay for a very lavish lifestyle. Many of these nonprofits are funded by groups that lobby the state government. And it gets worse.

CREW reports, “Days before Gov. Schwarzenegger took office, he accepted an $8 million consulting job with American Media Inc., publisher of the muscle magazines Flex and Muscle & Fitness as well as the tabloid National Enquirer. Critics contended that the contract raised obvious ethical issues because the muscle magazines’ ad revenue, to which Gov. Schwarzenegger’s salary was directly tied, relied heavily on dietary supplement advertising. The year after Gov. Schwarzenegger accepted the consulting job, he vetoed legislation that would have regulated supplements.”

Adding insult to injury, the Governator isn't even ripped any more.

And let’s not leave out the democrats. We had such high hopes for our own governor of New York, David Patterson. He came to office in the wake of the Eliot Spitzer scandal, and had the air of a political outsider who was a real man of the people. Beyond that, he was the first legally blind governor, which was probably quite inspiring for the many Americans with physical handicaps. Sadly, as CREW points out, he turned out to be a dud.

Here’s one nauseating episode, courtesy of CREW: “Gov. Paterson came under heavy criticism after it was revealed that he had spent $21,000 of taxpayers’ money on a custom-stitched antique rug for his residence. Gov. Paterson acquired the rug after warning that the state deficit could swell to $15 billion and calling on state workers to forgo a 3 percent yearly pay raise. The rug was purchased at Stark Carpets, which had contributed $3,000 to the Spitzer–Paterson campaign in 2005 and 2006, and $5,000 in 2003, further raising suspicion.”

And that’s not the worst of it. Gov. Patterson has allegedly received other improper gifts, lied under oath and, most notably, interfered with a sexual assault investigation.

Excellent work, CREW. People need to know about this stuff.

MainStreet has featured CREW’s findings in the past, most notably our rundown of the most corrupt member of Congress.

 

Photo Credit: azrainman

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