by Max Brantley
Is there no bottom to stories about Mark Wilcox's abuse of the office of land commissioner? Not one state car but two, including one stationed at his farm? And now in today's Democrat-Gazette comes reporting that he used office money to pay for almost $1,000 in damage to a privately owned vehicle that his wife hit with the state pickup while on a shopping trip. Originally, we'd been led to believe insurance paid for the damage. Wilcox, under scrutiny, has repaid the money.
Imagine if Wilcox was the nominee for secretary of state. Dead meat is what he'd be. As it is, his stench lingers over many others, particularly incumbent officeholders (who tend to be Democrats).
As the story has unfolded, Wilcox's situation has gone from ill-advised to potentially illegal. His only defense is to argue that everyone believed that the state cars purchased for elected officials like himself could be used for personal purposes, including use by family. That is, they were essentially a valuable perk of office. I don't think the law is on his side, of course. That pending taxpayers lawsuit should help clean up the Augean state garage.