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Corruption in Wyoming Government: Sealing the Deal

August 12, 2013

From the moment Wyoming House Speaker Tom Lubnau (R-Gillette) began orating at the State Republican Central Committee meeting in Casper Wyoming on July 27, he validated every suspicion of his conservative and pro-constitution critics. As the state’s corrupt political machine presses forward with its intentions of completely silencing Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill before she can shine the light of truth on its rampant chicanery, the citizenry is becoming increasingly dubious of all the time wasted and money squandered in endless attempts to put a facade of legitimacy on what has clearly become a political lynching.

Lubnaubegan with the wholly predictable drivel about regretting the position in which he finds himself, as leader of the effort to drum Hill out of office on any spurious grounds that can be contrived against her. One could almost see those Clintonian crocodile tears in his delivery. Yet with every subsequent sentence, he proved beyond any doubt that he is a key player in a shameless and likely criminal effort to concoct a case against Hill, for the sole purpose of preventing her from running for Governor next year. Were that to eventuate, she would be in a position to do her own investigating of the rampant cronyism that has thoroughly permeated the highest levels of Wyoming government, by which certain selected individuals have been greatly enriched at the expense of taxpayers. Worse yet, this scheme has been perpetrated with a complete disregard for the academic plight of the state’s school aged children.

Among Lubnau’s initial blanket assertions was his ostensibly valiant effort to assist Hill “when things started to not work.” In that ham-fisted construction, he sought to present as established truth the notion that Hill’s performance as Superintendent had somehow failed to live up to reasonable expectations. Yet the facts flatly refute his contention. Cindy Hill’s approach to dealing with problems and needs of the state’s schools has indeed reaped great results. In contrast, the cold indifference of her critics in the state bureaucracy, who would forfeit her stunning accomplishments in order to preserve their access to the public trough, proves beyond any reasonable doubt that neither they, nor Lubnau as their spokesman, have any interest in Wyoming school children other than as a resource to empower and enrich those on the dole.

If honesty and straightforwardness are the measures of a concerned public official who is merely doing his duty, Lubnau’s effortless fraud and misrepresentations revealed an intention to cloak an indefensible power grab that is an affront to every honest citizen of Wyoming. When attempting to insinuate financial malfeasance on Hill’s part, he sidestepped the thorough audit conducted on her office, in which her performance, and that of her department, were unassailable. According to Lubnau, that matter was inconsequential, since the $20 million involved there is only a small fraction of the $1.2 billion annual state education budget.

However, while the bulk of Wyoming’s educational spending takes place outside of the Superintendent’s office, it was the internal expenditures on which Hill’s adversaries decided to focus, since it was there that they believed they might achieve the greatest success digging up some dirt. Having completely failed to do so, and in fact unwittingly exonerating the manner in which Cindy Hill had elevated both the conduct of business within her office and the influence she was able to have, with quantifiably positive results on the educational environment in Wyoming, her antagonists were forced to contrive other grounds on which to criticize her. So they pursued yet another “investigation,” which spent $150,000 to compile and catalog personal grievances from underlings.

It is here that the disingenuous ploy of Lubnau and his accomplices devolved from reprehensible to absurdly embarrassing. Citing employee complaints in the Governor’s “MacPherson Report” he expounded on nearly two pages of “allegations,” against Hill, and the manner in which she conducted business in her office. Interestingly, he quoted from the report in one breath, while in the next he immediately disavowed any responsibility for it on the grounds that it was an “executive action.” In an airtight rebuttal, Hill has pointed out that “In Wyoming State government, if anyone has a concern with their agency, Human Resources personnel and/or the Wyoming Human Resource Department personnel are well trained and immediately available to address the situation.” Thoroughly pulverizing Lubnau’s insinuations of wrongdoing she adds “It is perplexing as to why someone would be waiting two years to make an accusation.”

Lubnauwas emphatic in stating that none of the complaints came from the legislature. Yet that assertion conveniently ignores the baseless accusations of many legislators who frantically sought to justify their vehement support for Senate File 104 (the measure which negated the vote of Wyoming’s citizens who overwhelmingly elected Hill in 2010, and granted power to the Governor to choose an education superintendent) as it was being ramrodded through the state legislature. According to its champions in the state capitol, SF 104 was necessary because Cindy Hill was difficult to work with. To anyone who ever had to contend with the grotesquely bloated egos of many Wyoming legislators and senators during committee hearings or any other encounter dealing with public policy, it is beyond ridiculous to believe that they could ever fault any other human being as being “difficult to work with.” For being contentious and self-absorbed, this lot has no rivals. Any attempts at sounding sincere on this matter are themselves the concrete proof of insincerity.

In a succinct refutation to Speaker Lubnau’s verbose denunciation of Cindy Hill, former Representative Bob Brechtel (R-Natrona County) summed up the real issues at stake in just a few words, “Her interest is not in defending herself, but saving our education system from out of control Federal Government.” Later, he added “SF-104 was not about Cindy Hill, but the federal takeover of states’ rights in education, helped by failed state government; of which Cindy Hill so well stated that she just got ‘out in front of the train.’”

Significant federal monies could flow into the coffers of Wyoming government if the control of education is ceded to the bureaucratic monstrosity of Washington, and Barack Obama’s “common core standards” which aim to transform government schools in the same manner that Obamacare looks to reinvent medical treatment. For those, like Cindy Hill, who are ultimately interested in seeing children learn and achieve, the money is of secondary importance. But to the entrenched bureaucrat, it is not merely the chief concern, it is the only concern.

Nevertheless, Speaker Lubnau assured his audience of grassroots Republicans that Hill would receive an impartial trial, conducted by a panel hand-picked from lawmakers who voted to undercut her office and transfer her duties to the governor’s accommodating appointee. One can only surmise how he or any of his cohorts would fare, and how much corruption and malfeasance would be uncovered, were they subjected to the manner of scrutiny that Cindy Hill has undergone during the past year. Indeed, it is just such a possibility that terrifies those members of the entrenched political machine, and drives them to obsessively prevent Hill from ever having such oversight.

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Copyright ©2013

Christopher G. Adamo is a resident of southeastern Wyoming and has been involved in state and local politics for many years. He writes for several prominent conservative websites, and has written for regional and national magazines. He is currently the Chief Editorial Writer for The Proud Americans, an advocacy group for America’s seniors, and for all Americans. His contact information and article archives can be found at www.chrisadamo.com, and he can be followed on Twitter @CGAdamo.