With fairness to all
Most Virginians simply want to be treated fairly. Sadly, whenever modern government is involved, there are avenues all around us that try to get some advantage over others. It seems a constant battle between this group and that or where one group achieves an advantage over another.
The work of the modern FBI is a perfect example. Several years ago I was summoned to testify before a federal grand jury that was focused on one state employee. Having known this employee since he was appointed some half dozen years previously by then Governor Warner, I had complete confidence that he would have done nothing that was illegal or unethical. I relayed that message to the agents involved. However, they were unwilling to accept my statement directly. Instead they summoned several of us to appear before a federal grand jury. There we were asked to swear that we would tell the truth and we did. I found out later that was not required of the agents, honesty was not required of them. The agents could say anything, truthful or not, to confuse a witness and or the grand jury. It would appear that what would be fair would be that all parties be required to tell the truth.
In this particular case, it appeared that the end result was to “catch” a higher official. When nothing came of the testimony from any of us, we received nothing for time we spent going through years of emails looking for communications to send the agents or any legal advice we incurred. We were fortunate, the target in which they were focused was charged. After months of mental torture, his case was brought before the court. However, the morning the trial was to begin, the prosecutor dropped the case. It was dropped because the charges were fabricated with no facts. It ended with him having a legal bill for $21,000.
Therefore, when I read in the national news that the individual that headed the FBI at the time had lied to the public and had not treated American citizens fairly and equally, I was not surprised. When it became public knowledge that he had become a political tool of the Obama administration, it saddened me but I was not surprised. Now, to hear that he may have actually infiltrated the Trump campaign on behalf of the Clinton campaign, it sickened me.
The news this week was that this year the number of lobbyists interested in various issues before the General Assembly is 1,000. The majority of these are not in Richmond to fight for fairest but rather to promote or protect those issues that interest them or their employees.
The number of registered lobbyists may well have jumped this year because of the dramatic turnover in the House of Delegates. Most of those elected had very limited knowledge of the issues before the General Assembly. Most believe that the majority of lobbyists are representing the business community. The truth is that the teachers’ organizations send the largest numbers of lobbyists. I, for one, have no problem with these folks who can give the Delegates and Senators a more well-rounded view of issues that most affects Virginia.
Lobbyist are a part of the process. I listen to their perspective; however, I focus my attention on what is in the best long-term interest of our region and the people in this region.
Frank Ruff represents Charlotte in the state Senate. His email address is Sen. Ruff@verizon.net.