So many things nauseating about this article I’m not sure where to begin.
Let’s start with the fact that the committee meeting in Jefferson City was not very well attended. Why not? Why don’t more people care? Where are the public interest research groups? Where are the tea baggers fed up with fat-cat government officials?
But if there had been a committee meeting to determine the design of Missouri’s new license plate, or to determine what Missouri’s official shot-gun or fishing lure should be, well, it would have been standing room only.
Part of the ethics debate this session revolves around shutting down the legislator/lobbyist revolving door. Missouri is particularly horrible when it comes to this. Various proposals this session limit ex-legs from working as lobbyists anywhere from 1-year to infinity. Personally, I lean a little more toward infinity plus one.
The logic is simple, but only makes sense if you have an ethical bone in your body. If I’m a legislator with all kinds of regulatory and budgetary control over various industries and professions, I’ve got to be careful not to sell – or to give the appearance of selling – my vote for favors. Favors can include cash, campaign donations, cupcakes, baseball tickets, trips to the Bahamas, and a job for me after my tenure in the state legislature. . And what kind of job can an industry/profession offer an ex-legislator? Well, something in the lobbying department, of course!
Most distressing is the article’s implication that if any legislator/lobbyist ban is enacted that it will not go into effect until a few years – thus grandfathering current legislators with an eye on working as a lobbyist in the near future. Wow.
Stay classy, Missouri General Assembly!