Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Washington Post on Pinsky

The Washington Post editors are questioning the role of state senator and MCEA staffer, Paul Pinsky, in the latest round of infighting between the Maryland General Assembly and Maryland State Department of Education.   It just so happens I think the General Assembly is right: MSDE has regulated beyond what is allowed by the law.   But the Washington Post is also right.   There should not be MCEA staffers voting on education bills.   I'm not sure MCEA staffers should be serving on the Maryland General Assembly at all.  Granted it's not illegal, but I for one do not want my elected representatives directly employed by lobbies- even if they are lobbying on my behalf.   Rumor has it newly elected Eric Leudtke will soon be an MCEA staffer as well.   I'd call that some political machinery at work.   The best part is, no one else seems to think this might represent a conflict of interest.   Or maybe they just don't know.   From the Washington Post:

We also hope that this latest - and most egregious - example of a lawmaker refusing to recuse himself from an issue where there is a conflict of interest prompts the General Assembly to do something about its lax ethics rules. Essentially the only thing required is disclosure and an assertion that the lawmaker can overcome any conflict. No doubt Mr. Pinsky brings valuable expertise to the discussion, as he argued to us. But that does not obviate the evident conflict when Mr. Pinsky, a union organizer for the Montgomery County Education Association, plays a leading role on an issue that directly affects his employer

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