American historian Theodore White once said, “The flow of money that gushes into politics today is a pollution of democracy.”
That observation, according to former Mississippi Insurance Commissioner George Dale, is more true than ever some quarter-century after White’s death.
“I don’t think our forefathers ever intended for office to be limited to those who have money or the access to money,” said Dale, who served a record 32 years as insurance commissioner before his defeat in the 2007 Democratic primary.
That campaign, according to Dale, demonstrated some of the excesses that exist today.
Dale was targeted for defeat by a third-party organization, Citizens for Fair Elections, which ran ads accusing him of siding with insurance companies in their disputes with Gulf Coast property owners following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Dale, 69, said Citizens for Fair Elections was bankrolled in large part by “some guy who now is somewhere else in Kentucky or somewhere,” a reference to former trial lawyer Richard Scruggs. Scruggs pleaded guilty in 2008 and again in 2009 to federal bribery charges unrelated to the 2007 elections. He is serving a seven-year sentence at a federal prison in Ashland, Ky.
Asked after his speech to comment further on Scruggs’ role in his political defeat, Dale declined.