Monday, December 6, 2010

Blatant Conflict of Interest

You really can't make this stuff up. Harry Coates, a state senator from Oklahoma, is having an affair with a lobbyist. Right, no surprise there. It gets a little thorny however when one learns that the lobbyist he is sleeping with, 29-year-old Haley Atwood, works for a company (Rite of Passage) that recently won a $10 million per year contract to operate a new private juvenile detention center. A contract that Coates was instrumental in helping to secure. Of course, both parties claim the affair has nothing to do with Coates' support of the contract. Sure, a 60 year old state senator and a woman less than half his age would only be in it for the love, right?

Thankfully, though, the awarding of the contract has been delayed. Apparently, their relationship could have led to the bidding process being rigged. I'm stunned.

UPDATE: The Oklahoma Attorney General is reviewing how the contract came to be awarded to Rite of Passage.

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