Part 8 of our 36-part look at states (and one Congress) more ethical than Missouri looks at New Jersey. Yes, THAT New Jersey. Seriously. We’re not kidding…….
New Jersey state law states:
“No member of the legislature or legislative staff may accept, directly or indirectly, nor may a lobbyist or government affairs agent give, any compensation, reward, employment, gift, honorarium or other thing of value from each lobbyist or legislative agent as defined in 52:13C-18, totaling more than $250 in a calendar year.”
State law then goes further to also include members of the legislator’s family/household in these limits. This makes New Jersey one of 23 “Bright Line” states that put a limit on the value of gifts that lobbyists can give to lawmakers; and in this case, gifts to the lawmakers family.
The $250 limit puts New Jersey about in the middle of the pack of states with specific monetary limits on gifts from lobbyists. Some states have stricter limits, others have looser limits.
But with ANY limit, New Jersey stands ethically head-and-shoulders above Missouri. With no limit whatsoever on gifts, lobbyists have free reign on buying influence and access. Even troubled New Jersey understands that limits of some kind are necessary. Even in New Jersey, a no limit gift-giving environment is considered unethical.
New Jersey gets it. When will Missouri?
Support the Missouri Gift-Ban Pledge and legislation to limit lobbyist gift-giving.