Part 5 of our 36-part series looks at Georgia. When it comes to ethics, states can change their stripes. We see this most recently with Georgia. In 2012 they added this to state law:
“No person who is registered as a lobbyist under Code Section 21-5-71 shall make any expenditure. No public officer shall with actual knowledge accept any expenditure from a person who is registered as a lobbyist under Code Section 21-5-71.”
“Expenditures” – as defined in Georgia state statute – include gifts of more than $75.
Thus, Georgia is one of 23 states that allow lobbyists to provide lawmakers gifts, but up to a limit. Georgia is one of six states that put the limit on the gift’s value – as opposed to the cumulative value of all gifts received per lawmaker.
Not ideal. But still better than the limitless gift-giving free-for-all found in Missouri.
Georgia was shamed into action this past year. Like Missouri, Georgia used to be one of just a handful of states with no limits on lobbyist gift-giving. Eventually, Georgia’s lawmakers found their ethical compass and passed their first significant ethical reform in decades. The first target of the reforms: the limitless gift-giving from lobbyists.
Georgia eventually figured it out. When will Missouri?
Support the Missouri Gift-Ban Pledge and legislation to regulate lobbyist gift-giving.