Remember those true-or-false tests in grade school and high school? Instead of spelling out the words “True” or “False,” you could just put a “T” or an “F” on the answer line. That gave conniving kids with modest calligraphic skills an opportunity for fudging.
When they were sure about a particular statement on the test, or thought they were sure, they would put down an unmistakable “T” or “F.” When they weren’t sure, they would put down a hybrid character, a mutant “T” or “F” that looked so much like its opposite that a tired teacher grading papers late at night might give them the benefit of the doubt.
Even if the teacher were suspicious and challenged them the next day as to what letter each F-like “T” and T-like “F” really was, they would have had time after the test to check the answers with their classmates and be able to say in all seeming-innocence, “Oh, that’s a ‘T.’” Or: “No, that’s an ‘F.’”
Which brings us to another true-or-false statement: U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez of Texas’ 15th Congressional District violated ethics rules that prohibit House members from “engaging in professions that provide services involving a fiduciary relationship, including the practice of law.” True or false?
It’s hard to say. As this Record report documents, the details are somewhat ambiguous and subject to interpretation.
Of course, an incipient controversy could be nipped in the bud if Gonzalez would give up all claim to a contingency fee negotiated just before his election for work that he couldn’t have spent more than a few weeks on before assuming office.
How about it, Gonzalez? Why not set an example for your colleagues?