Wyoming Legislators Clash Over Ethics Of A “Pledge”
It was a discussion of Ethics. But having the discussion itself became a discussion.
At an interim meeting of the Joint Corporations, Elections & Political Subdivisions Committee Crook County’s two legislators began arguing over a “pledge” that had been sent out by Representative Chip Neiman. The pledge asked legislators to promise support for bills that alter current election laws.
But Senator Ogden Driskill and others thought it unethical to ask legislators to make such a promise when they had not had a chance to discuss the issue.
Mr. Neiman told the committee that he was, “Just trying to reflect the views and desires of my constituency.” Run-off elections, he said, would ensure that candidates were sent onwards from primary elections with at least 50% of the overall vote. (Sundance Times).
Neiman believes “the vast majority” of his constituents want this change.
Driskill agreed that there is support for such an idea. But he asked if Neiman would be willing to rescind it. “I, for one, didn’t sign it,” he said, saying it puts undue pressure on county clerks.
Neiman did not want this to be a litmus test. It was to find where the legislators were at on this issue.
Senator Cale Case thought the freshman was in error and called Neiman out for causing “dissension.” He thought legislators needed more information, plus the issue was a bit more complicated than presented.
Representative Shelly Duncan claimed she signed the pledge but said she felt pressured to do so.
Driskill spoke about the pressure from outside groups. “What we do is pledge to do what we can for our constituents.” Neiman’s actions violate his own pledge as a legislator, Driskill said, “Akin to signing a blank check and handing it to somebody,” he said.
Driskill recalled a prior pledge that asked legislators to support the Second Amendment Preservation Act, a bill that ended up being amended so much that the sponsor voted against it. You never know what’s going to happen, he said.