View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Friday, May 09, 2003
One standard way for the government to reduce overhead and get work done more quickly, is to issue short-term, no-bid contracts for specific jobs. These are almost always for small amounts of money, but they can add up over time, and are certainly more subject to political abuse. City Auditor-turned-mayoral candidate Don Mares has made these contracts a campaign issue, specifically attacking the practice of issuing them, and specifically attacking several of his rivals for receiving them. Now, inevtiably, it turns out that Mr. Mares himself received a no-bid contract when he was a private lawyer. The amount was small: no more than $12,500, and he was eventually paid a little over $10K. This hardly constitutes graft. He clearly hasn't made or built a career off of this sort of work, and scale does make a difference.

Given the whole Bill Bennett fiasco, I'm a little reluctant to start throwing around charges of hypocrisy, but they do seem well-founded here. Don't make something a specific issue if you're guilty of it yourself. Even then, Mares could have said that, having received one of these contracts in the past, he's familiar with the kinds of problems they can cause, etc. But he didn't. And now, needing 80% of the outstanding vote to win, he's just made it that much harder.

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