Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Cooper's "retirement"

State Senator Jerry Cooper is appealing the $120,000 civil penalty imposed upon him by the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance for diverting $95,000 of campaign funds for personal use. He is also (mercifully) going to resign his Senate seat:

“Simply put, after Sen. Cooper’s well-publicized problems over the last
several years, his medical, legal and other bills make it impossible to pay this
penalty,” attorney Michael D. Galligan of McMinnville wrote in a letter to
Registry Director Drew Rawlins.

“Sen. Cooper would represent to the Registry that he intends to retire
prior to the next election upon completion of several ongoing projects he feels
strongly will benefit the citizens of the 14th Senatorial District,” Galligan

“Sen. Cooper was a sponsor of the bill creating the Registry of Election
Finance and has the utmost respect for the Registry and its goals. While not
challenging the findings made by the Registry, he would respectfully request a
reconsideration of the penalties and ask that they be reduced to an amount more
commensurate with previous penalties assessed by the Registry and Sen. Cooper’s
limited ability to pay,” the letter says.

I wonder if Senator Cooper was thinking of his "limited ability to pay" when he diverted that money from his campaign account? He had to know very well that what he was doing violated the very law that he helped to draft. Apparently it was perfectly fine for Cooper to do what he did, but was not fine for other legislators. Since he drafted the bill that created the Registry of Election Finance, we are forced to assume that this was a case of "do as I say, not as I do."

Now Jerry Cooper-whose embarrassment of the Tennessee Senate as an institution has not previously known any bounds-tells the press through his legal intermediaries that he intends to retire from the Senate "prior to the next election." In other words, Cooper is leaving the Senate to spare himself further negative attention. Clearly, the Senate Democratic Caucus doesn't care about the problems Cooper has caused them, they've gone out of their way to defend Cooper as his drunken, disorderly, and illegal behavior has served as an example to Tennesseans of the continued abuses of Democratic power.

It may be true that Jerry Cooper is unable to pay the fine imposed on him. He really should have given that some consideration before he diverted all that money.



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