The Providence Journal’s all out, fire-and-brimstone editorial yesterday against the sham House hearings on grants is welcome and fully warranted.
The hearings came across as nothing but a dog-and-pony exhibition, an insult to the intelligence of most Rhode Islanders, a fraud, a farce.
The editorial not only calls for an immediate end to grants but goes on to point out that the line item veto would be a curb on such excesses. (My comment: ahem, yes, in the hands of a Governor interested in wielding it.)
The editorial, further, makes reference to federal authorities.
This is rank enough, but the system has evidently metastasized into funneling money directly to legislators and other allies working for dubious nonprofit groups. If crimes have been committed in this manner, we hope federal authorities bring an iron fist down on the perpetrators.
It is very difficult to believe that leadership is attempting to pass off these Potemkin hearings as the promised review and oversight of the very troubled grant program and that they won’t, in fact, be bringing in independent investigators. If that is the case, however (and I would be thrilled to be wrong here), legislative oversight is pointless and it is clearly time to bring in a phalanx of feds. Grants and every campaign account on Smith Hill: let them go top to bottom. The “stench”, as the editorial calls the miasma emanating from the grant program, will not clear until this happens.