Arizona House Speaker David Gowan caved this morning on his plan to require background checks for reporters before they could go about their business, as they have more than three decades, on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Given the ongoing roasting that Gowan was experiencing in press, it was only a matter of time before he'd admit defeat and let the press back on the House floor.
Howie Fischer, the dean of Capitol press corps, has the details here.
would like to point out that we were telling voters that House Speaker David Gowan was a nitwit way before it was cool.
Back in 2006, we noted that Gowan was "as dumb as as a bag of hammers
" after he sent out hit pieces targeting his then-opponent, state Rep. Marian McClure. (McClure was a class act and Gowan isn’t fit to shine her shoes, BTW.)
Despite his lack of smarts, Gowan—with the help of public dollars from the Clean Elections program—eventually managed to weasel his way into the House. And he has risen to the spot of House speaker, mostly because there were enough Republicans who figured he was the least dangerous alternative because he too dumb to get much of anything done.
But since landing that speaker job, he’s has had plenty of bad press, mostly based on his own inability to keep his piggy little snout out of the public trough.
So perhaps it’s not surprising that he tried to ban the media from reporting from the House floor.
Last week, as almost everyone now knows, Gowan’s team told all members of the Capitol press corps that they had to go through a bullshit “background check” to ensure that they didn’t pose some kind of security risk.
The reporters, bless their hearts, told Gowan where he could stick his background check, so they were booted from the House floor for the first time in more than three decades and are reporting from the gallery.
The entire sorry background-check affair stemmed from Gowan’s desire to punish one reporter: Arizona Capitol Times reporter Hank Stephenson, who nailed Gowan for his propensity to campaign on the public dime.
Earlier this year, Stephenson revealed that Gowan had used state-owned cars to rack up 11,000 miles driving around Congressional District 1.
As it happens, Gowan is delusional enough to believe he could actually win that congressional district, which ain't gonna happen.
And then Stephenson followed up with a report that showed that Gowan had paid the state back more than $12,000 in mileage reimbursement he received for driving the state car.
Gowan said it was just a clerical error made by a staffer. Sure, happens all the time—you just end up with $12,000 more in taxpayer dollars than you expected and don’t think twice about cashing the check. Those are some conservative values right there!
So Gowan and his pals cooked up a scheme to block Stephenson from being able to cover the House in the final weeks: A background check that would block anyone who had convictions for murder, rape or criminal trespass. Why criminal trespass? Because Stephenson was a criminal trespass conviction on his record stemming from a Wickenburg bar fight.
Gowan’s transparent and dumb effort at revenge isn’t working out so well for him. All he has managed to do is bring more attention to his efforts to enrich himself at the expense of the public.
And his record in that department is long. There was the episode where he had his cars fixed for free by students in a JTED program—right before voting to cut funding for the program
. There was his plan to use taxpayer dollars to build a nice new gym for House members
. There was his decision to hire a pal for the House Sergeant at Arms position at double the pay of the last guy
—and turn the Sergeant at Arms into his private driver while he was campaigning for Congress.
Why would you want every media outlet in the state to recap all these stories? Well, you wouldn’t—unless, of course, you were as dumb as a bag of hammers.