|Steve Sack (Star Tribune 3/1/12)|
Sviggum, Minnesota's premiere conflict of interest magnet, doesn't think there is a problem in being both a Regent of the University and a flack for the majority caucus in the Minnesota Senate. But his colleagues don't exactly agree:
Even if a superhuman regent-slash-executive assistant to the majority caucus could manage through all the situations I think could arise there by using tools like recusal," he said, "I don’t think such a person… could ever overcome the public perception that his or her loyalty, confidentiality and duty of priority to the university could remain intact situation after situation after situation.
Lawyers are supposed to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest for the same reason that the author of that quote, Regent David McMillan, states. Even if Sviggum could pull it off, well, it just smells bad.
And if Sviggum is recusing himself every time there's a conflict, why bother to have him there in the first place? Don't Regents get appointed to make decisions, not sit on the sidelines?
Lyrics from the Lovin' Spoonful
The link to the Sack cartoon is here.