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He's young, energetic and squeaky clean. Just look at that baby face! He contrasts perfectly with that slightly befuddled, old white-haired dude, Douglas Henry, right? At least that's what they're saying.
You know how much Pith hates to piss on anyone's parade, but duty calls. We feel obligated to point out to the city's so-called progressives who are so excited about Yarbro that this guy works for Bass, Berry & Sims, one of the biggest lobbying/law firms in Nashville. Ahem, does anyone see any conflict of interest here?
Among Bass Berry's many lobbying clients: Gaylord Entertainment Co., the Tennessee Bankers Association, the American Petroleum Institute, the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, Dell and Coventry Health Care. Should we continue?
We asked Yarbro if he will quit the firm if he wins the election. "To be honest, I'm not sure," he said. "I don't have any intention to step down, but I haven't made any sort of final decision on that."
To be fair, Yarbro is a litigator. He doesn't lobby for Bass Berry. Still, does anyone really expect this guy to keep an open mind when his lobbying colleague Dick Lodge walks into his office to ask for his vote for legislation benefiting, say, Gaylord? Clearly, Yarbro should promise right now that if he wins, he'll leave Bass Berry.
That's the decision Rep. Mike Stewart made last year when he was running to succeed Rob Briley. When Stewart won the election, he promptly quit Waller Lansden, another lobbying/law firm, to avoid any ethical conflicts. He didn't want to look like Waller's Manchurian candidate.
If Yarbro won't quit, then voters might legitimately wonder, based on this issue alone, whether they're making an upgrade by electing him. Henry's honesty and independence have never been questioned during his entire 40 years in the legislature. He won't even take his state pay. Yarbro would operate under an ethics cloud from Day One.