STATEMENT FROM SENATOR STRATTON TAYLOR, PRESIDENT PRO TEM:
"There simply is no merit to the concerns raised by Governor Keating.
Senators of both parties voted for the Indian gas tax bill because they felt it was a workable solution to a pressing problem. To suggest otherwise is irresponsible and reckless behavior, even by Governor Keating's Joe McCarthy-like standards. His vague insinuations of impropriety have needlessly tarred the names of both Republican and Democratic legislators who did nothing more than their constitutional duty. He should be ashamed of using such smear tactics in an effort to score a few political points.
The Governor should clean up his own house before he begins making unsubstantiated attacks on fellow Republicans and Democrats. What Governor Keating didn't mention today is the fact that Tom Love of Love Country Stores and other gasoline interests are among his strongest financial contributors. Tom Love and his corporation gave $11,000 to the Governor's inaugural fund. Other gasoline interests kicked in another $45,000 plus. By Governor Keating's flawed logic, he has been bought and paid for by the very gasoline interests who are now actively involved in the Indian gas tax legislation.
If Governor Keating is truly concerned about even the perception of impropriety, he would change his own less-than-stellar behavior.
-What kind of perception did it create when Governor Keating failed to object to QuikTrip employee and State Representative Mike Thornbrugh serving on the Indian gas tax conference committee? (QuikTrip gave $5,000 to the Governor's inaugural).
-What kind of perception did it create when Governor Keating accepted more than $70,000 from energy interests to bankroll his inaugural, and then turned around three weeks later and proposed tax cuts for the energy industry?
-What kind of perception did it create when Governor Keating accepted thousands of campaign dollars from business interests and then proposed tax cuts for them?
-What kind of perception did it create when Governor Keating accepted thousands of dollars in special interest gifts for the mansion?
-What kind of perception did it create when Governor Keating allowed special interests to bankroll his notoriously ambitious travel schedule, getting them to foot the bill for thousands of dollars in free trips and vacations?
-What kind of perception did it create when, as one of his first duties in office, Governor Keating fired the Stampgate special prosecutor who was investigating Republican legislators accused of misusing public funds on campaign activity?
-What kind of perception did it create when Governor Keating allowed his Secretary of State to continue his political consulting business while drawing a state paycheck?
-What kind of perception did it create when Governor Keating publicly remained neutral on 669, but attempted to help his Secretary of State's political consulting firm in its paid-effort to pass the state question?
When it comes to ethical double standards and appearances of impropriety, Governor Keating is the undisputed Heavyweight champion of the world, if not the universe. He never met a conflict of interest he didn't like.
I don't have a problem with Governor Keating's behavior because, despite all of the appearances to the contrary, I still believe he is an honest public servant. But if he insists on sanctimoniously preaching about perceptions of impropriety, he should clean up his own act first.
In short, people who live in special interest-financed mansions should not throw stones."