Will GOP Condemn Bob Huff's Sleaze?

Steven Greenhut: I can only imagine the outrage from Republicans if we learned that a Democratic state senator had made his cause celebre the salvation of a massive government program that enriched his wife, but that’s exactly the case with Sen. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar. As the Los Angeles Times reported today, Huff’s wife is a major consultant for Ed Roski, the developer whose name is synonymous with the City of Industry. Industry is the biggest redevelopment area in the state, a place that is the poster child for everything that is wrong with this big government, corporate welfare, Soviet-style planning regime that does little more than enrich a small group of developers, empower bureaucrats and run roughshod over property rights.

This is from the Times story: “The foundation of [Roski’s] empire is in redevelopment zones,” said Victor Valle, author of the book “City of Industry: Genealogies of Power in Southern California.” “How does Bob convince his constituents that [his wife] has not shaped his policy agenda on redevelopment?”

What’s really revolting is that Sen. Huff and his wife claim that there is nothing at all remiss here and that there are no connections between redevelopment and the work Mei Mei does for Roski and Majestic. Huff must think we’re idiots. This also is from the Times:

Huff said there is “absolutely no conflict.” If lawmakers “had to stay away from any subject that a spouse of theirs might be involved in, you know, we would severely have our hands tied,” he said.

Oh come on. The Huff family is making serious money from this and Sen. Huff is no bit player in redevelopment. He is the point man involved in saving it from Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to shut these agencies down. Huff has authored key bills toward this end. And his wife has posed with the former governor after legislation was signed helping Roski with his stadium deal.

This is first-class sleaze. It doesn’t even pass the most basic ethics test even if there is nothing legally wrong here. An forget about any political principle that’s remotely conservative. The Huff family is just another in a long line of Republicans who talk about limiting government but who spend their career expanding government and living well off of its power and perks.

Republicans should condemn Sen. Bob Huff’s sleaze or else recognize that they have no moral high ground when they point their fingers at the other party.

MAY 10


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