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Haslam makes CREW's list of worst governors

6:45 PM, Jul 17, 2013   |    comments
Governor Bill Haslam
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By Chas Sisk / The Tennessean

It was less than five months ago that Politico was calling Gov. Bill Haslam "the GOP star you've never heard of." So it was somewhat surprising to see Tennessee's rising star called one of the nation's worst governors in another report out today.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington - you may recall them as the folks who filed a medical ethics complaint against U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais - lists Haslam as one of the worst governors in the country based on his ethics and transparency practices. The group raps the governor for the Jones Lang LaSalle contract, putting adviser Tom Ingram on his personal payroll, the handling of the Occupy Nashville protests and signing the state's voter ID law.

CREW says Haslam's actions are suspect enough to "merit close scruntiny." It places the Tennessee leader in its third tier of bad governors, a group it calls "sideshows" using a circus metaphor that's far too complicated to summarize here.

In fairness to the governor, CREW's assessment probably ought to be taken with a grain of salt. Republicans account for 16 of the group's 18 malfeasants, including its worst six. That's pretty one-sided, even for the most cynical and partisan Democrat.

And then there's the activist role CREW has played in attacking DesJarlais.

But even considering CREW's slant, the report does highlight the rough spot Haslam has hit since the Politico profile ran in February. That piece touted him as a potential vice-presidential candidate, holding up a squeaky-clean image as one of his major attributes.

Haslam and his supporters would prefer to see more press like that than assessments like CREW's.

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