Americans continue to reel from the unfolding outrages of Obamacare. And with the coming of the New Year, major new phases of the program are due to be implemented, which only portends even more dismay and anger from the people on Main Street. Clearly, the creators of this affront to America believed they could remake the nation from the ground up, while craftily overcoming opposition from the people. This is government that has gone completely out of control and as such represents a malignant danger to those who hope to preserve the nation’s one-time greatness “for themselves and their posterity.”
Unfortunately, such assaults on the American ideal are neither confined to Washington nor to the Democrat Party. In Wyoming, a festering governmental atrocity spawned in the early days of last year’s legislative session proceeds on its sordid course. Despite vehement protests from the Wyoming people, certain arrogant and detached legislators continue to violate the spirit of the Wyoming Constitution and prove that they do not consider themselves accountable to the law, but believe they can remake it on the fly as they see fit. If their despicable actions are allowed to go unchecked, they will have indeed established themselves as an elite “ruling class.”
This effort began as Senate File 104, a misbegotten measure passed in the first days of the 2013 legislative session. Its purpose was to negate the ability of voters to elect the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and hand that decision over to the Governor. It was immediately signed into law by Governor Matt Mead, whereupon it instantly went into effect. Cindy Hill, the Superintendent of Public Instruction who had been elected by an overwhelming majority in 2010, was removed from virtually all official duties of office and relegated to a ceremonial post. In her place Rich Crandall, an individual from Arizona with absolutely no education background was appointed by Governor Mead, and without ever being considered for his post by the Wyoming people, took control of education in Wyoming, at twice the pay that Hill received.
But that was only the first of many frauds and travesties surrounding Wyoming education, with no end in sight. Wyoming State House Speaker Tom Lubnau, a major force behind the effort to oust Hill, made the fully predictable pretense of virtue and objectivity, asserting that his motives were not personally directed at Hill. He then proceeded to prove beyond any doubt that his efforts were entirely fixated on neutralizing Hill as a political force within the state. Despite having absolutely no tangible evidence of wrongdoing, Lubnau has since been pressing for impeachment of Hill based, he claims, on some mysterious “smoking gun” that has yet to materialize after more than a year of intense scrutiny by various appointed panels and state agencies.
As Speaker Lubnau has moved forward with his makeshift impeachment process, Superintendent Hill sent a letter to the state legislators, calling into question Lubnau’s clearly underhanded tactics, and asserting that the people of the CowboyState deserve a far more ethical approach to such major governmental action than Lubnau is providing. For starters, it is inarguable that so grave an act as removal of a duly elected official from public office should be conducted in full light of public disclosure. If the fundamental concept of self-governance absolutely must to be usurped by the iron-fisted actions of legislators, “We the People” have the right to know each and every detail of the reason for engaging in such an extreme power grab. Yet the most critical portions of the process have been conducted behind closed doors and beyond any public accountability, including lengthy talks with “witnesses,” who are likely to be key players.
To date, public “hearings” have been brief and very general, amounting to barely a half-hour of worthless “explanations” of how the procedure is to be conducted, with absolutely no presentation of charges or evidence against Hill. It has become abundantly clear that Lubnau, Governor Mead, and the rest of the legislators who scorned the voters and defiled the Wyoming Constitution are not concerned with any lapses in Hill’s conduct as Education Superintendant, but in covering their own political backsides from public backlash or legal accountability.
Unlike the dubious and clandestine behavior of the Speaker, Superintendant Hill offers to publicly answer any questions that might arise. Clearly, it is not Hill who is attempting to carry on in secrecy or through devious methods. The contrast between her forthrightness and Lubnau’s duplicity should stand as a clear indicator of who has nothing to hide, and who fears truthful and honest participation and scrutiny by the public.
With a single exception, subcommittee hearings, ostensibly investigating Hill’s conduct in office, have been concealed from the public, and were not streamed on the web as promised by Lubnau. Nor has he come forth with any supporting claims or documents, as requested by Hill and her staff. In short, a process that, from beginning to end, should be open to the people has instead become a back room scheme, rife with opportunities for witness tampering and predetermined outcomes. Such chicanery reveals the extent to which certain members of Wyoming government will go in order to prevent Hill from ever being in a position to investigate their own behavior, which begs the question of just what they might have to hide.
The next phase of this circus is an “investigative hearing” beginning on January 6. Unlike previous “hearings,” this one is open to the public, though no public input will be allowed. And the “rules” established for this thoroughly orchestrated affair make a complete mockery of American justice and upend legal precedent going all the way back to the Magna Carta. “Witness” testimonies have been established behind closed doors, with coaching by an elaborate team of high paid lawyers. Hill will be prohibited from cross examining “witnesses” during the process. Her questions to the committee must be submitted before the hearing, lest she identifies holes in her accusers’ stories and thereby forces them to go off script. Standard rules of evidence do not apply, which leaves the entire event open to unsubstantiated hearsay. What does it say about the integrity of a process with such profound ramifications, when the only “witness testimony” that can be verified and validated is that which occurs outside the “investigation”? And what does the collaboration of legislators in such a corrupt charade say about their own character?
From the beginning, the success of this sordid plot has been contingent on ignorance and apathy of Wyoming citizens. To the dismay of the legislature, the good people of Wyoming were neither oblivious nor willing to remain passive to the debasement of the Wyoming Constitution and the corruption of the law when SF104 was initially passed. Yet even after nearly a year, the scheming efforts of the legislators continue unabated. Their only hope is that by Election Day, the public will have lost interest in the basic integrity of state government and will again be willing to accept the political pablum it has been delivering to them. The people of Wyoming will have an opportunity either to prove themselves worthy of this level of disdain, or they will hold accountable all those in public office who have treated them with such contempt.