Hack and Johnson – Sunshine and Stocks

There is a scandal brewing right here in Lawrence, Kansas. The Mayor of Lawrence (Sue Hack), and the head of the County Commission (Bob Johnson) have been found to own stock in Deciphera Pharmaceuticals, during a period where they were determining what tax and fee concessions to give that company to locate in Lawrence. This comes on the heels of their having been found to have met, at last twice, behind closed doors with Deciphera during this same period, in direct contravention of the Kansas Sunshine law. I’m not sure why we have to give away the store to every company that’s thinking of moving to Lawrence, anyway.

We may be getting an idea of why they think it is necessary. Both Sue Hack (the Mayor of Lawrence) and Bob Johnson, head of the Couty Commission, wound up, somehow, with $5,000 each in Deciphera stock at the time the tax and fee deals were being cut. I don’t know that either Hack, and ex-school teacher, or Johnson, are doubling as day traders, but the direct purchase of that much stock doesn’t sound like something either one of them would do on a daily basis.

Worse, both Hack and Johnson met with Deciphera officials behind closed doors in order to close the deal with the company to come to Lawrence, in direct contravention to the Sunshine laws which prevail in the great State of Kansas. Investigators have been pussyfooting around this obvious problem for several weeks. Finally, a local watchdog group, Grassroots Action, has asked that the Douglas County Attorney look into the matter.

I have no way of knowing that anything illegal occurred. I do know that Hack is being very quiet and Johnson is declaring his innocence in very general statements, quite similar to those used by any number of elected officials that have recently been indicted by grand juries across our fair land. There is a veritable epidemic of politicians at all levels thinking that they can get away with anything just because the little Bush does it.

At the very least, not declaring the stock, however they came to have it, was stupid. Meeting behind closed doors while giving away the store was at least as stupid as acquiring stock that is questionable for them to own, at best. I’ve never been in favor of having stupid people in public office.

I would like these particular stupid people closely investigated. Now.

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