ICYMI: Labrador Proposes to Dismantle the Power and Perks of Establishment Politicians
I’ll stand with Raúl.
The following is an excerpt from Cynthia Sewell's article, which appeared in the Idaho Statesman on January 30th.
"The proposals by U.S. Rep. Raúl Labrador come on the heels of the Republican-dominated Legislature showing signs it will continue to resist such reforms.
The House State Affairs Committee on Jan. 17 shot down its own chairman’s bill to require elected officials to annually disclose their financial interests — the product of a bipartisan working group that met last summer. This means Idaho will remain one of two states in the country that do not require elected officials to reveal any information about their finances, a tool that can help indicate conflicts of interest with pending bills and budgets....
Labrador’s goals, announced Tuesday, cover several of the same topics, including ending a practice known as 'pension-spiking' that benefits legislators who move on to other state government employment. Labrador in addition wants to kick special interest groups that lobby the Legislature off of the state’s retirement system, and he wants to improve oversight of state contracting practices.
'The establishment is scared of what I will do as governor to break the cycle of cronyism in government,' Labrador said in a news release. 'Those who feel entitled to enrich themselves on the backs of taxpayers have to be stopped....'
Labrador will need lawmakers’ support to make his proposals reality. As with other policy proposals he’s released this month, it’s not clear how he plans to reverse years of legislative resistance to many of these ideas. Campaign staff say his 'conservative leadership will make that happen.'
'Idahoans are so frustrated with politicians who make empty promises, cut back room deals and pick winners and losers,' campaign manager China Veldhouse Gum said. 'The establishment might not like some of the conservative ideas Raúl Labrador is putting forward, but Idahoans all over the state are excited about seeing a government that will put Idaho families ahead of the political class.'”
You can view Raúl's full proposal on dismantling the power and perks of establishment politicians below.
Conservative Vision for a Stronger Idaho
Dismantle the Power and Perks of Establishment Politicians
End Pay to Play
In Idaho government, political connections sometimes impact how policies are developed and contracts are awarded. Sweetheart deals and special favors have become both costly and normal. In 2017, the state of Idaho settled a legal dispute over the Idaho Education Network, which had been awarded for political favor, and not merit. This contract was ruled illegal in courts. This failed project cost as much as $40 million. While the state Legislature has made some reforms to the contracting process, the “pay to play” atmosphere persists at the highest levels of state government. Cronyism and favoritism have no place in government. As governor, I’ll thoroughly review Idaho’s contracting process and work with the legislature to close loopholes, increase oversight, and make state contracting more accountable to taxpayers. Additionally, I’ll eliminate “pay to play” and replace it with a level playing field for all.
Term Limits for Statewide Officials and Legislators
Term limits allow fresh ideas and innovations to rise to the surface, and can help stop corruption and cronyism from taking root. Conversely, concentrating power into the hands of people who have been in office for too long can lead to cronyism and, at minimum, a belief that political favoritism is behind policy decisions. I’ve led the fight to enact term limits for all members of Congress by sponsoring a term limits amendment to the U.S Constitution. Early in the governor’s race I pledged to serve no more than two terms of office. As governor, I’ll lead the charge to work with citizens and lawmakers to amend the Idaho Constitution to enact term limits for our statewide elected officials and state legislators.
End Insider Deals and Conflicts of Interest
Idahoans are often asked to just trust that their elected officials aren’t personally benefiting from a government contract or policy change. It shouldn’t be this way. An elected official can have private financial interests, but when those interests are factored into public matters, that’s called corruption. Even the appearance of corruption can erode public confidence in government. It’s well past time for Idaho to require a thorough disclosure of potential conflicts of interest. As governor, I’ll restore confidence in Idaho’s political system by requiring all elected officials—state and local— be held accountable to disclosing potential conflicts of interest. I’ll also lead the fight against bribery and insider deals by working with the Legislature to make our laws more clear and enforceable.
Insist on Higher Standards of Leadership in Idaho
Too many hiring decisions in Idaho government are based on political connections and not aptitude. Once elected, I will ask all current heads of agencies and departments to submit their resignations and reapply for their positions if they want to continue to serve the people of Idaho. Then, I will invite all qualified individuals to apply for leadership positions in my administration. Those individuals will be considered for hiring based on their commitment to serving the people of Idaho, their experience as organization leaders and their commitment to reducing costs to taxpayers while improving customer service.
Expel Special Interest Groups from the Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho (PERSI)
The law governing the Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho allows special interest groups to participate in this state-sponsored retirement program that was intended for public employees. Special interest groups that lobby the Legislature shouldn’t receive a benefit reserved for state and local government employees. It’s wrong for the taxpayers of Idaho to take on the risk associated with funding pensions for special interest groups. As governor, I will see that this loophole in the law is closed.
Stop Pension Spiking
Currently, part-time legislators who transition into full-time Idaho government employment after their elected service are rewarded with an extremely valuable perk that’s available to no one else, full-time PERSI credit for part-time work. This loophole can be used to turn a pension worth a few hundred dollars a month into one worth thousands of dollars. This isn’t right. As governor, I will work to change state law so that legislators don’t receive preferential treatment.