Since leaving Congress, Dick Armey has been promoting smaller government as a private citizen. Armeyâ€™s organization FreedomWorks recently alerted supporters to a perverse power play in the Georgia state legislature: Payback by House Speaker Glenn Richardson against a conservative caucus called the 216 Group.
It seems Speaker Richardson wanted a political pal of his to become chair of the state transportation board. Members of the 216 Group, which meets in the capitolâ€™s room 216, failed to vote for the speakerâ€™s preference. Perhaps they were more concerned about living up to their motto: â€œless government, lower taxes, personal responsibility, and liberty and justice for all.â€
So, Speaker Richardson retaliated by stripping the uncooperative members of their committee assignments.
Armey says, â€œSpeaker Richardson may feel personally slighted that he couldnâ€™t get a political ally on the DOT board . . . but to hamstring conservative lawmakers in his own party . . . trying to do serious policy-work on behalf of taxpayers is simply unconscionable.â€
One victim, Doug Collins, told reporters that he suspected he might be penalized for crossing the speaker, â€œbut I felt the need to vote my conscience and my constituency.â€
Georgia citizens upset about Speaker Richardsonâ€™s abuse of power should demand that he reinstate demoted members and stop kicking other 216 members off their committees. Richardsonâ€™s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. The phone number of the Speakerâ€™s office is (404) 656-5020.
This is Common Sense. Iâ€™m Paul Jacob.