Skip to comments.Wilder dubs FBI sting 'wrong'
Posted on 05/28/2005 12:02:50 PM PDT by SmithL
NASHVILLE - In a rambling Senate speech and prayer, Lt. Gov. John Wilder said it was "wrong" for undercover agents to bait lawmakers with money.
Wilder also revealed he was offered $300,000 years ago from a coal company that was seeking preferential treatment from the state.
He was responding to the arrests Thursday of four sitting lawmakers and a former one in a federal bribery and extortion sting operation.
Sens. John Ford and Kathryn Bowers of Memphis were absent from the Legislature Friday following their arrests. Sen. Ward Crutchfield and Rep. Chris Newton returned to Capitol Hill.
Former Sen. Roscoe Dixon also was charged.
"I'm hurt because John is where he is, and Roscoe is where he is and Kathryn is where she is," Wilder said. "It's rough. We're family. Three members of our family are in hell. Why? Because they're legislators."
Wilder, a Democrat who has been Senate speaker since 1971, also brought the foibles of former Gov. Ray Blanton into his speech, proclaiming Blanton was innocent. Wilder didn't explain exactly why, but Blanton's conviction for selling liquor licenses was overturned after he finished a prison sentence.
Wilder said he was offered money from the coal company, through his son, at about the same time Blanton got in trouble in the late 1970s. Wilder said he turned down the money, telling the company he supported mining whether they gave him money or not.
Wilder said he will treat the indicted lawmakers as full members of the Legislature.
"As far as I'm concerned, they are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt," he said. "I hurt because we have some members that are in serious trouble."
Several lawmakers have criticized authorities for allowing phony bills to be put before lawmakers as part of the sting. Others said undercover agents went too far by offering money as "bait" to trap the indicted lawmakers.
Wilder seemed to agree during a prayer he made to lawmakers after his speech.
"Money out there was here offered as bait to get someone in jail," he said. "It's wrong. It's not your (God's) way."
Wilder also touched on a number of other topics:
n Lamenting his failed effort to get state employees a pay raise above 3 percent and promising to renew the fight in January.
n Chastising attacks he suffered from the far right in the last election, saying the "right-to-lifers tried to kill me."
n Praising the Senate, locked in a slim 17-16 Republican majority, for shelving partisanship and saying they all are still "family."
I suspect the FBI is too smart to commit entrapment and blow their case. If there was money involved, the legislators would have had to ask for it.
one baits flies with dung, gators with putrid chicken, and democrats with money.
it is the way to snare the beast.
Because they're CROOKS
What is the point of being a politician if you can't take bribes?
Quite a telling statement from the "leader" of the state. I have a feeling this is bigger than just the 4 main ring leaders.
Praise the LORD, john ford has resigned effective today! He is NO LONGER my senator!
Why? Because their your typical Corrupt Democrat legislators, who got caught doing what Democrats do.
Wait they will be hollering that the pittance they are paid is the cause of former sen john ford (love that thought) took bribes.
bwaaaaahhhhh....cry me a flipping river....quite telling that nowhere does he say it was wrong for his "dear friends" to take the money....bwaaaahhh...how could they resist that dirty old fbi bribe...bwaaaaahhh...my friends were bamboozled and got caught....bwahhhhhh...stupid democrat...go home.
The Feds didn't offer these crooks money, the crooks DEMANDED specified sums from the Feds.
Political corruption, bureaucratic corruption, and law enforcement corruption are all FAR more commonplace than the average sheeple might think.
We need a LOT more stings like this.
Are they all demonrats?
Basically he's saying that being tempted by dirty money is more than any man or woman should have to bear.
I guess when you have never earned a days wages out in the dirt, dirty money has special attractions. We won't get into discussing morals or integrity here because JR would need another gagillion bytes of hard drive space. Let's suffice with the fact that politicians are a different class of people than the rest of hardworking America.
I don't know about you, but this just tells me that Wilder is also dirty and just waiting for a knock on his door.
No, there's one Republican.
Wilder is an idiot. I can't believe the GOP-controlled Legislature elected him as Lt. Governor. We have 2 turncoats of our own, namely Tim Burchett and Mike Williams.
Incidentally, Ford is still under investigation by the Legislature's Ethics Committee for some of his TennCare dealings, ie. pocketing money as an advisor to a managed care group that recieved TennCare funds.
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