The few, the proud...
Among the many staggering things in the final installment of the House of Assembly spending scandal is the fact that, of 115 MHAs about whom figures were released in Auditor-General Noseworthy's report, only six had never had any instances of double-billing, donations to charities or groups, or alcohol-only purchases.
What's staggeringer is what happens when you look at that list more carefully.
The AG examined the accounts of all living MHAs (and at least one deceased one) who have served in the House going back to the election of 1989.
The only still-serving member who has never ended up in one or the other of the "Big Three" categories is current PC MHA for Placentia and St. Mary's, Felix Collins, who was elected in a by-election last year, thereby arriving late for the party. He has also been an MHA for less than two full years.
By-election seat-warmers, and short post-1989 House of Assembly careers, are two recurring themes among The Six.
Charlie Brett in Trinity North was one of the survivors of the Tory defeat in 1989, but promptly decided that being in opposition wasn't much fun, and quickly resigned his seat. His successor in the ensuing by-election, Barry Hynes, who won in a landslide 13 votes, resigned after being convicted of sexual assault.
In the east end of St. John's, Shannie Duff won election in the 1989 general, who promptly decided municipal politics was more fun, and, resigning to run in the 1990 civic elections, was elected Mayor of Capital City.
The only two long-serving MHAs whose names appear in addition to these four are long-time cabinet minister Rex Gibbons, and cabinet colleague who hasn't quite left public life, Lt.-Gov. Ed Roberts.
In all fairness — there will be lots more fairness tomorrow — numerous other MHAs just miss the cut thanks to small amounts of probably accidental double-billing or small donations. By way of example, the MHA with the lowest annual average of "scandalous" spending (other than the six who had none at all) is former Premier Clyde Wells who, according donated a whopping $85 of his allowance to a cause or causes.
So, Felix Collins, Charlie Brett, Barry Hynes, Shannie Duff, Rex Gibbons, Ed Roberts.
Four of whom, combined, spent less time in the House of Assembly in the past 18 years than either of the other two.