by Countable | 2.13.18
A Democratic candidate for West Virginia’s House of Delegates was dragged out of a public hearing for listing the donations that lawmakers have received from oil and gas companies.
Lissa Lucas traveled to Charleston to voice her objections to HB 4268, a proposed bill that would allow oil and gas companies to drill on private land with the consent of 75 percent of landowners, rather than the 100 percent required by current law.
"I have to keep this short because the public only gets a minute and 45 seconds while lobbyists can throw a gala at the Marriott with whiskey and wine and talk for hours to the delegates," Lucas said.
The Democratic candidate then began reading the list of fossil fuel donations to the lawmakers moving the legislation—including John Shott, head of the House Judiciary Committee.
"John Shott. First Energy, $2,000. Appalachian Power, $2,000. Steptoe & Johnson—that’s a gas and oil law firm—$2,000. Consol Energy, $1,000. EQT, $1,000. And I could go on," Lucas said.
That’s when Shott, who was presiding over the hearing, cut her off.
"Ms. Lucas, we ask no personal comments be made," Shott said.
Lucas argued that her comments weren’t personal, and were based on publicly available information.
"It is a personal comment and I’m going to call you out of order if you’re talking about individuals on the committee," Shott replied. “So if you would address the bill. If not, I’ll ask you to please step down.”
When Lucas continued to list donors, her microphone was cut off and security arrived to remove her from the chamber.
Watch the exchange here:
The committee passed the bill later that evening. It’s now headed to the lower House and state Senate.
Should listing lawmakers’ donors be considered a personal attack? Should Lucas have been allowed to finish her public remarks? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.
(Photo Credit: Screen capture)
Written by Countable
This was in no way personal! Lawmakers work for the people and are paid by the people’s taxes. She was siting the abuse of power and the corruption that takes place. Votes should not be for sale and the practice needs to end!
The fix was in. The last thing they wanted was someone detailing the fixers. Politicians should have to dress like NASCAR drivers so we can see who owns them. The bastards sure don't work for us!
Lissa Lucas I’d vote for you! Keep rocking the boat! Get those bought incumbents out of the house, let Lucas stay.
Sad that politicians think it's personal when the people they work for highlight who has paid to influence their votes
As an Independent, I find the silencing of this Democrat candidate reprehensible. I also find ANY bill that would overrule a quarter of the landowners who don’t want drilling on their land just as reprehensible. Public vs Personal comments: I ask how much more personal can you get, than to use someone’s property in a manner which they do not want. Were her comments personal? I guess she did strike at the very heart and soul of this meaningless “public comment” period (1:45 seconds... really?) and attacked the personal fraud that these bought and paid for lawmakers allowed themselves to be party to. Sadly, until corporate money is out of politics, Dems, Republicans, and Independent parties become party to this. But this should be a reminder to all whom try to silence another’s speech whom one does not like or agree with. This is what shutting down free speech looks like.
Lissa Lucas, You are a true patriot. America needs more heroes like you. THANK YOU!
Good for her! She should have passed the list to the next person to speak and they should have continued to read the list and so on. The list should be published full page in the newspaper as a public service announcement!
We should know the identity of all donors and their special interest.
Most of the politicians in West Virginia are so bought and owned by corporations, yet they are so embarrassed to even admit it! West Virginians deserve better!
Lawmakers are despicable ! They take money from lobbyists and refuse to hear from their constituents. I’m so glad there are patriotic people who go out to confront politicians with their own dirt !!!
I think it is within their responsibility to allow such information; this is not personal information, but pertinent information to the motion at hand. If money is being taken from oil and gas companies and the bill deals with drilling, this information is relevant. What are your motivations as a public servant and in passing the bill?
This is reprehensible on the part of those in government positions of power. Any politician should be able to stand up and be held accountable for their actions and from whom they take donations from. If they are not willing to state publicly that they accepted money from a particular donor then perhaps they should rethink taking money from that person or entity. By not doing so they are giving the perception of wrong doing and corruption on their part. By not allowing someone to question, comment or demand an account of their actions then they are putting themselves above their constituents and above the need for ethics, morals and honesty in our government. I request that you strongly censure those in any government office who condone or participate in actions against those who demand accountability.
Of course listing donors isn't a personal attack. Lawmakers should have donors listed on their seat in office so everyone can see. If someone has sway over the representative who is claiming to represent me, I want to know who.
By shutting off her microphone and taking her away, the WV legislation took away Lissa Lucas’ 1st amendment right to free speech. You keep on speaking the truth Lissa. Others in WV and the country will hear the truth you are sharing. Her example of strength is what all of us should do with our representatives, let them have it! The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!!
These actions were not personal attacks, they were public information and she should be permitted to speak. Her removal is the admittance of guilt.
God forbid a regular human sneak into the palace and show what is behind the curtain. ALL “donors” to public officials should be public unless they are single, actual individuals. Then, their names should be know only in an investigation. Companies bribing officials should be brought into the light. Trumps entire cabinet was purchased by donors. It needs to stop now.
Ms. Lucas’ comments were both appropriate and extremely relevant. They served to highlight who has purchased influence with those legislators and shine a light on the motivation behind their votes. This public information was precisely the sort of truth that should be openly voiced. By going to the hearing and confronting the committee members with their own records she bravely spoke truth to power. And as we have come to expect, in a typical perverse use of power they shut her down, turned off her microphone and physically removed her from the podium. Of course, the irony is if the fools had just let her speak few would have heard or paid attention. By the poor treatment of this constituent at a public hearing her words and her concerns have been amplified many times over across the nation. And as a result the committee members have been shown to be the bought and paid for stooges for the oil and gas industry they apparently are. Ha! Karma will not be denied.
This is outrageous! Ms. Lucas should have been able to finish. For goodness sakes, she got less than 2 minutes to speak. The chairman couldn’t let her speak for less than 2 minutes?? That’s so stupid. And what she said made complete sense — big oil companies can throw a gala at the Marriott and speak for hours, but Ms. Lucas couldn’t speak for 1 min, 45 seconds. If the people on the committee are ashamed of donations from Big Oil then they should have never accepted them!
This is fascism
It is not surprising to me that politicians at the state level are as influenced and controlled by big-money donors as those representing us at the federal level. It is also not surprising that this particular lawmaker used his position to silence an opponent for raising the issue in public. Citizens have a right to know about conflicts of interest between a politician's campaign donations and the public interest. This lawmaker apparently disagrees and does not understand the true meaning of PUBLIC SERVICE - putting the interests of the state (or nation) as a whole first, even if it means losing a donor. Our political system has no moral compass and hasn't for a long time. Government at all levels is meant to serve the public, not the individual rich or connected or corrupt enough to get elected. This man's actions are deplorable but all too common. I hope Ms. Lucas wins and brings honesty and integrity to the government of WV.