“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters”
― Albert Einstein
Unfortunately, Pam Bucy, the Democrat candidate for Attorney General, was so anxious to let the voters know about her campaign activities on Facebook that she forgot that sometimes too much information can bite you on the butt. In Pam’s case, her FB posts confirm that she committed fraud by claiming sick leave for hours she used for campaigning.
A press release from the Montana GOP (which will never be published by the LSM in this state) lays out the specifics:
– On May 24, 2012, Pam Bucy announced on Facebook that she gave an interview with National Public Radio at the Lewis and Clark County Courthouse. The same day, Pam announced on Facebook that she “Had a great time talking with local Democratic leaders and activists over our party’s statewide weekly conference call.” She recorded her time that day as 8 sick hours.
– On April 19, 2012, Pam Bucy attended a Planned Parenthood lunch event. She recorded her time that day as 6.5 regular hours, 1.5 sick hours.
– On March 22, 2012, Pam Bucy attended a Missoula Wine, Women and Politics event, which ran from 5:30-7:30pm. She recorded her time that day as 4 regular hours, 1 vacation hour, and 3 sick hours.
Here’s the full graphic of Bucy’s FB posts and the corresponding time sheet reports:
The payroll information was obtained from the Department of Administration as a result of a Right to Know Request for time sheets for the first half of the year.
So what’s the big deal, you ask? Well, first of all, Pam is a long-time state employee who makes around $90,000 a year in her current job at the Department of Labor & Industry. She’s been around long enough to know the rules, which are pretty dang clear and easy to understand:
Sick leave abuse occurs when an employee uses sick leave for unauthorized purposes or misrepresents the actual reason for charging an absence to sick leave. As provided in 2-18-618, MCA, sick leave abuse is cause for dismissal and forfeiture of the lump-sum payment.
The argument can be made that this only happened these three times, but that does sort of beg the suspension of credibility – The only times she broke the law was when she published evidence of her infractions??? I suspect a thorough audit of her time sheets for the entire year would turn up some other questionable occurrences where she claimed to be sick and was seen at some political event in apparent good health. But that’s not the biggest issue. Nor is the fact that she cheated the taxpayers out of about $600 bucks. If she had taken those hours as “annual leave” she would have been paid – unless she had used up all her vacation and comp time and would have been relegated to “time off without pay”. In which case she does owe the taxpayers some money.
The real issue is much bigger – and more serious: It’s about character and ethics.
Here we have a person who is seeking to become the chief law enforcement officer for the state of Montana and she is either too stupid to understand the state sick leave policy (the law!) or too arrogant to think she has to obey the law. Other state employees are disciplined – some even fired – for fraudulent use of sick time.
This is nothing short of a game-changer. If you can’t trust a person to do the right thing on the little things, how can you trust them to do the right thing on the big things? And if the head of the department plays a little fast and loose with the laws, can you trust that the corruption won’t trickle down through the ranks? If Bucy is elected, will the Department of Justice become a haven for tiny frauds? Will defense attorneys be able to focus the spotlight on the law enforcers instead of the law breakers? How many felons will be freed on technicalities because the officer just fudged that itty-bitty piece of evidence? Will Montana suffer through the national disgrace of a major crime lab scandal?
It’s interesting that both the Billings Gazette and the Bozeman Chronicle have endorsed Bucy. Assuming the editors of those papers were unaware of this story, I wonder if they will now withdraw their endorsements in light of this information? Or maybe this is an effort on the part of these papers to insure four years of juicy stories about corruption and scandal in Montana’s Department of Justice…
The Attorney General is an important official in the state of Montana. The office is not a ceremonial one. If the top law enforcement official doesn’t adhere to the highest ethical and moral standards, the state will ultimately pay a huge price. Pam Bucy has shown that she does not hold herself to the level of accountability that the citizens of this state deserve and will presumably be held to.
Senator Alan Simpson put it another way:
“If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.”
Pam Bucy does not have integrity. She is not worthy of public office.
It matters. A lot.