Daily Archives: April 24, 2011

The Cone of Silence is Cracked and Whitewash Won’t Repair It

Jim Jacks & The Columbian

“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” Abraham Lincoln

Ever since the abrupt resignation of former representative, Democrat Jim Jacks this past March 25, a “cone of silence” has been erected surrounding Jacks and any bit of information about why he just up and quit following his re-election. He’s been scrubbed from official websites and it looks as if The Columbian is giving the former state rep a huge assist in keeping his story secret.

Requests for public records have been rejected. Jacks’ legislative website was taken down and his name removed from the rolls in the House even before the resignation was announced to the public. Calls on the media for information and reports on par with those of past incidents involving Republicans was met with “there is no paper trail to follow” by the Columbian’s editor, Lou Brancaccio.

The silence was broken this weekend, first by a teaser published online in the Saturday edition of the Columbian touting an “exclusive interview coming only in the print edition of the Sunday Columbian” and the “interview” itself. (Sunday’s follow-up column now available online here)

Saturday’s column revealed what many of us already knew, Jacks has had a problem with alcohol. In Sunday’s column, Lou Brancaccio tells us that Jacks had a “moment of clarity” all of a sudden in March, resigned his seat, climbed into the passenger seat of his wife’s car and had her drive him straight to rehab where he has been this past month.

What led to that “moment of clarity” is not stated, just that Jacks said, “I resigned because I’m an alcoholic.”

All along we have been led to believe that this was a sudden and surprising decision of Jacks, even though Sen. Craig Pridemore let slip in one article March 25 that they had been discussing this with Jacks for a few days prior.

Brancaccio tells us he “asked Jacks if his drinking resulted in his doing anything inappropriate” and Jacks “wasn’t exactly sure what I meant” at first.

Jacks replied, “I have no criminal record. I’ve gotten no DUIs. I’m sure I’ve driven when I should not have been driving. But I resigned because I had to fix my problem. I resigned because I’m an alcoholic.

Brancaccio says he “pressed him further” asking, “is it possible that someone might show up later and say you did something inappropriate to them while you were drinking?

Jacks says “no.

Left out of the exclusive interview is what Erik Smith of Washington State Wire discovered earlier as he looked into this matter.

Reports on file at the state Public Disclosure Commission indicate that Jacks transferred remaining campaign funds to the House Democratic Caucus campaign committee two days before the resignation. And the letter of resignation itself was faxed from a location in Oregon,the morning of March 25, 2011.

It would appear as if this was more of a planned and coordinated resignation than we have been led to believe so far. Even though rumors of inappropriate conduct have been rampant and growing, no actual documentation has come forward to date.

By the same token, simply entering rehab to deal with alcoholism doesn’t rise to the degree of the stonewall erected even before Jacks abruptly quitting was announced either.

Republican President Richard Nixon discovered the hard way that cover-ups do not hide wrongdoing with the Watergate scandal in the early 1970’s.

Democrats in Washington State would do well to recall that and even with a sympathetic newspaper whitewash, the lack of transparency will not make Jacks abrupt quitting vanish either.

The only way to squelch the rumors, some of which might be true and some not, others involving matters of public trust, is for the Democrats in Olympia to begin showing that transparency they claim to believe in.

Whitewashes and stonewalls are not transparency.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com