Fort Worth City Council member Danny Scarth’s latest screw-up – running afoul of the Texas Ethics Commission – is yet another stain on his record. But when you’re Mr. Step-n-Fetchit for the right people, that kind of stain is easily washed away.
Recall that the downtown elite, led by Mayor Mike Moncrief, wanted political novice Scarth to defeat independent-minded Louis McBee for the District 4 city council seat. What that bunch wants, it typically gets. When Moncrief, U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, the oil industry, and the like pour money into your campaign and pose for smiley pictures with you, then chances are you win. But those folks were still scared to death that McBee would win the election and become another Clyde Picht, who seldom played the political back-scratching game and always spoke his mind, no matter whose Italian leather loafers he was stepping on. Well, let’s review Scarth’s resumé during his short time in the public spotlight: Hmmm, he represented residents on a gas drilling task force but aligned himself with the drillers and took money from them to finance his campaign.
Calling himself a “champion for economic opportunity and equality,” he nonetheless has racked up a long record of failing to pay his taxes on time. Prior to the May 12 election, rumors circulated that the state ethics commission was investigating a complaint about his campaign finance reports. Boy, he must have goofed up pretty bad – it’s a chore to get the state ethics committee to do anything, much less to enforce ethics rules. Scarth told a neighbor that there was nothing to the complaint, just political backstabbing. He failed to mention that, prior to the election, he paid a $500 civil penalty for doing such a shoddy job of filling out his campaign finance reports.
But, hey, he votes the “right” way, and doesn’t challenge the mayor, so his sins – especially those of the ethical variety – apparently carry all the weight of dandelion fuzz. Got to watch those dandelions, though. Like ethical problems, they tend to proliferate when no one’s watching.