Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Blast from the past

In the matter of State v. Neufeld:

On the last night of the veto session of the 1994 legislative session, the bell which officially calls the Kansas House of Representatives to order for a vote was ringing. At that time, in the lobby of the House chamber, Representative Neufeld engaged Representative Richard Alldritt in a conversation.

The conversation took place in the lobby within 10 feet of the door to the House chambers. The lobby area of the House is sometimes used by legislators for the purpose of discussing and conducting "legislative business." The only business before the House was the omnibus appropriations bill that had to be passed before the legislature could adjourn. The defendant, Neufeld, is a Republican. Alldritt is a Democrat. Neufeld had been voting "Yes" on the omnibus bill and Alldritt had been voting "No" on the bill. According to Alldritt, Neufeld told him, "You're voting with us this time." Alldritt replied, "Excuse me?" Neufeld again stated, "You're voting with us this time. We know you were caught up in the [fifth floor] lounge in a compromising position with two [female] lobbyists earlier this evening. You're voting green or we'll call your wife." A green vote indicates a legislator is voting "Yes" on a bill. Alldritt testified that he considered Neufeld's statements a threat.
Alldritt called his wife to warn her, and voted "no."
Alldritt's wife, Carmen Alldritt, testified that she received a call from Neufeld shortly before midnight near the end of the legislative session. Neufeld told her that he was sorry to have to call and tell her that her husband's conduct was unbecoming of a member of the House of Representatives. He advised her that he was concerned about her marriage and her husband's conduct. Neufeld advised her that her husband had been seen in a lounge with two women employees who stood to benefit from the passage of the bill on which they were voting. Mrs. Alldritt responded, "What do you want me to do now, call my husband up to get him to change his vote?" Neufeld replied, "Well, yes." Alldritt then received a phone call at his desk on the House floor from his wife, who was very upset. She advised Alldritt that Neufeld had called and told her that there were problems in her marriage and that her husband was behaving in a way unfit for a legislator.
Neufeld later called Alldritt:
At his home in Harper, Alldritt received a telephone call from Neufeld, who stated, "I'm calling to apologize. I did a really stupid thing. I'm a jerk and I hope you can forgive me."
Neufeld's bribery charges were dismissed on a technicality. Presumably this experience taught him the caution we can see in his careful choice of words on the courses KU offers:
I can’t intimidate anyone. They can be intimidated, but that’s their choice.