Sen. Paul Bookout
spent campaign money for personal purposes — meals, clothing, travel expenses.

He was found to have violated the ethics law. Republicans and Democrats demanded that he resign from public office. In less than a week, he did.

Lt. Gov. Mark Darr spent campaign money for personal purposes — meals, clothing, travel expenses.

And the rest of the story is …. ????????? Darr throws himself on the mercy of the Ethics Commission in hopes of a slap on the wrist for inadvertent errors by a neophyte candidate.

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Don’t start by saying, well, Bookout spent a lot more and spent it on big-ticket items like a fancy home entertainment system.

This only calls to mind the old joke, often told with Winston Churchill as the key actor:

Madam, would you sleep with me for $1 million?

Well, Mr. Churchill, we might have to discuss terms.

Madam, would you sleep with me for $5

Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you take me for?

Madam, we’ve established what kind of woman you are. Now we’re just haggling about price.

By the way: A complete investigation of Mark Darr’s expenditures must include a specific examination of his frequent charges of more than $100 on a credit card at gas stops around the state. Did those charges include extra amounts for cash, as many cards allow?

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It is also time to stop now the talk that Darr was just taking money from himself because he’d loaned the campaign money. The cumulative reports are indisputable. He raised  at least $12,000 more money than was necessary to pay off the loan. By keeping the campaign account open, he was able to use it as a cash machine for personal  expenses while still paying down the loan.

Thanks to Blue Hog Report for the kind of examination the state Ethics Commission should be applying to all candidates.