Brian Schweitzer's lobbyist initiative gets some backing
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Stopping that revolving door
By The Helena IR - 04/09/06
An initiative supported by Gov. Brian Schweitzer to require that departing legislators and other high state officials wait two years before they may become lobbyists has been likened to term limits. But the likeness isn’t very close.Term limits, touted by their supporters as a good way to prevent “career politicians” from becoming more beholden to the government than to their constituents, actually have more to do with limiting voters’ rights. After all, if a majority of voters like a politician and want to keep returning him to office for longer than eight years, they’re out of luck. Term limits aren’t just aimed at untrustworthy politicians, they’re also aimed at untrustworthy voters.
But lobbyists aren’t elected by any voters. They’re hired. (There may be some people who lobby for free on social issues they care about, but does any lobbyist for industry work for nothing? Not in this lifetime.)
Schweitzer’s measure, I-153, would mandate a two-year cooling off period on high state officials, including legislators, top appointed officials such as department directors, and members of elected officials’ personal staffs before they could become lobbyists.
Schweitzer said the idea is to make sure the officials are representing only Montanans, “not making some kind of a sweetheart deal for the job they’re going to get as a lobbyist the day after they’re a lawmaker.