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Tilley: Hanaway ethics talk made GOP caucus evaluate how it 'did business'

Here's an interesting nugget at the very end of a new AP story on the ethics legislation proposed for the upcoming session.

[Steve] Tilley, R-Perryville, said the legal problems and Democratic resignations from 2009 prompted House Republicans to ask a former U.S. attorney to speak during a December caucus meeting to remind them of what can and cannot be done.

"It's made all of us evaluate how you do business," Tilley said.

It's not entirely clear why the AP chose not to keep the "former U.S. attorney" anonymous, but I think it's significant Tilley says the presentation made him and GOP legislators evaluate how they were conducting themselves.  In fact, as The Star's Steve Kraske reported in December, it was former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway who gave the presentation on ethical legislating:

There was a review of what constitutes ethical behavior for state lawmakers with some asking questions about what's permissible and what's not.

Former House Speaker (and former U.S. attorney) Catherine Hanaway was at the caucus to lead that discussion, Republicans said. She preceded Jetton as speaker.

Hanaway was Speaker for the 2003 and 2004 legislative sessions.

While I appreciate the strategy behind Tilley's reminder of the crimes of Jeff Smith, Steve Brown and T.D. El-Amin, I doubt many people need a U.S. attorney to outline why lying to federal investigators and accepting cash bribes are bad ideas. A more reasonable explanation – supported by Tilley's statement that "it's made all of us evaluate how you do business" – is that Tilley and members of the caucus were concerned about behavior that was far more routine in the Capitol. 



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