Monday, October 02, 2006

I-153 a model for Congress?

The following is an article about the need for I-153, the Montana initiative that at least slows the revolving door for individuals shuttling between legislator and lobbyist positions.

Such shuttling is but one longtime bane of local, state and national politics--but I-153 is a good beginning. Lobbying is all about money and access and not necessarily what is good for a city, state or country. For the ordinary citizen who cannot afford to 'play-to-play' -- expecting that our representatives have our best interest at heart -- well, we are just not allowed into the legislative equation.

I stop just short of calling lobbyist 'donations' legalized bribery. It can be difficult to 'prove' a quid pro quo but the taint is enough, or should be enough, for any legislator to reconsider accepting 'contributions' from an entity attempting to push or negate a piece of legislation.

That's just basic personal morality.
Capitol cleansing
John S. Adams

Does Helena’s “revolving door” need closing?

Gov. Brian Schweitzer wants to clean up state government, and since he couldn’t get the state Legislature to help him do it during the 2005 session, he’s taking his plan straight to voters in November.

Schweitzer is a key backer of I-153, the ballot initiative that would reform lobbying in Montana by requiring a two-year cooling off period for legislators, appointed state officials, elected state officials, and personal staff of elected state officials before they can become licensed lobbyists.

“If you were in the Legislature on Dec. 30 and on Jan. 1 you’re now working for the company that you were regulating or setting tax policy for, people are going to ask, ‘When did you negotiate that contract? When did you know that you were going to leave the employ of the people of Montana and join the employ of the company that you were supposed to be fairly taxing and regulating? When was this deal cooked?’ It doesn’t pass the smell test,” Schweitzer says. “What I’m trying to do is keep people from negotiating their next job when they are supposed to be representing the interests of the people of Montana.”

So far the measure faces no organized opposition, but not everybody in Helena thinks the reform is warranted.
To read the rest, go here.


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