Justin Harris (R-Disingenuous)

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I love the word “logomachy,” primarily because it sounds cool when you say it, but, also, because it amuses me to think that there’s a word for a battle over words. (I am similarly entertained by “lethologica,” which is a word used to describe the inability to remember a word.)

Not surprisingly, however, it’s rare that I am able to weave “logomachy” into a blog post. Until today, that is, and it’s all thanks to Justin Harris (R-87, West Fork) and this grammatically tortured Facebook comment:

The battlefield for today’s logomachy is Harris’s sanctimonious claim that “[his] wife nor [him]self has personally been paid for services rendered.”

Harris is attempting two different sleights-of-hand here. A quick look at his invoice demonstrates how:

First and most obviously, his invoice says nothing about “services rendered;” it refers to “Office, Office Supplies, and Phone.” So, no, they haven’t “personally been paid for services rendered,” but so what? This is akin to be pulled over and telling the policeman that you haven’t been drinking vodka at all, while simultaneously chugging from a bottle of tequila.

Which brings us to the second misdirection Harris offers: the implication that it was his LLC, rather than him or his wife, who were paid the reimbursement money. This is just asinine; Harris and his wife ARE the LLC, meaning that LLC income is their income.

Meaning that they HAVE been paid the reimbursement money, even if it wasn’t for services rendered.

Which, in turn, means that Harris is in violation of Amendment 70, and no amount of clever phrasing on Facebook changes that fact.

[Author’s note: In truth, I feel bad for the people of District 87. Prior to 2005, they were fortunate enough to be represented by Sarah Agee, who was, in this writer’s not-so-humble opinion, a great legislator. Since that time, however, the people of that district have been treated to six-plus years of Mark Martin and, now, Justin Harris. I use “treated” in that last sentence in the same way you might say that someone was “treated” to 5,000 paper cuts.]

A couple other thoughts about Harris’s Facebook comment:

1. I agree with him that what needs to happen is legislators’ being reimbursed for actual, documented expenses. That’s kind of been my point the entire time, you know? I’m glad to see that Harris is going to take that approach from now, too. Of course, I’ll be checking his invoices to make sure. Not that I don’t trust him, mind you, it’s just … ok, I don’t trust him. At all.

2. I LOVE the petulant and blame-shifting excuse that Harris “was doing what [they] were instructed to do from Democratic House Leadership.” If it is the Democrats’ fault that Justin Harris didn’t see anything wrong with taking “reimbursements” for non-existent expenses, I have a question for Harris: do your constituents know that you do everything that the Democrats tell you to do?