Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Lt. Governor Becky Skillman accepted a “state donation” of an ethanol-powered Tahoe from General Motors back in May.

Are you wondering how I missed this? I was. Here’s how.

The largest newspaper to cover the story was Purdue’s student publication. The press conference was held at the Indy 500 practice day in the Chalet. And I had not seen the vehicle (which is very, um, noticeable) parked in the Statehouse lot until this month.

I don’t blame the administration for downplaying the “state donation.” In late April, Daniels was bombarded by accusations that he was accepting unethical gifts including plane rides and the famous “RV1.”

If you remember, Daniels explained that “they are state donations -- not personal gifts -- that enable him to conduct state business while saving taxpayers money. He says gifts from people who want something from the state are not acceptable.” The Lt. Governor’s website states that the vehicle is “on loan for the Lt. Governor’s travels.” So it is not a gift. Technically.

By Mitch’s reasoning, the Tahoe should save taxpayers money and be used in state business. But I am fairly sure Lt. Governors generally purchase their own automobiles and that Ms. Skillman’s morning commute is not considered “state business.” Maybe the donators do not want anything from the state. Except that the Lt. Governor’s own website states that “General Motors has made these loaner vehicles available…as a way to promote the use of renewable fuels.” Renewable fuels which fill up the 62,000 Tahoes that GM produced and needed to sell. Tahoes that gain popularity if a public figure drives one.

While I believe that ethanol is a better cause than tax breaks for the maker of RV1, the administration is still accepting substantial gifts while fining low-level employees hundreds of dollars for accepting $6 lunches and $20 hats.

You may also remember that RV1 later served as an attraction at a Republican fundraiser. I hope Ms. Skillman has a higher ethic than Her Man Mitch when it comes to the use of “state loans” of SUV 1 for “state business.”


Blogger Doug said...

The blog doesn't seem to be searchable and I don't know that the archives go back that far, but I seem to recall Taking Down Words having a picture of SUV1 parked in a handicapped space.

8:05 PM  
Anonymous Taking Down Words said...

Here you go:

Thanks for the referral, Doug. We're working on making the blog a bit more user-friendly.

6:14 PM  
Blogger Jezebella said...

That is awesome. Do you mind if I repost your picture?

11:11 AM  

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