1/15: Ethics legislation: Limit dollar distractions

By the AJC Editorial Board, AJC columnists and guest columnists

It’s an old saying that locked doors do little more than keep honest people honest. That’s still an admirable goal, one that goes to the heart of why Georgia needs more-stringent ethics rules governing lawmakers and other key state officials.

Those carrying out the business of governance should be beyond reasonable reproach or suspicion that their actions are motivated by anything other than the common good. If that sounds naively idealistic, then so be it.

Admittedly, it’s unrealistic to expect that the throngs of red-badged lobbyists who pack Gold Dome hallways will thin out anytime soon. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hold our state’s top leaders to a higher bar. That requires strengthening current ethics laws. A bill containing a package of ethics reforms was unveiled last week and is expected to be introduced soon in the General Assembly. It deserves prompt consideration and passage without substantial revision.

Read the rest of what the AJC Editorial Board has to say; along with Julianne Thompson, state coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots and co-organizer of the Atlanta Tea Party; and Rick Thompson, former executive director of the State Ethics Commission who now does ethics and governmental compliance consulting.

Also of interest: AJC columnists Jay Bookman and Kyle Wingfield weigh in on the topic.

What do you have to say about legislative ethics and legislation?

20 comments Add your comment

Road Scholar

January 15th, 2012
7:23 am

TruthBe: Now try to focus…try hard…the editorial is about STATE ethics… so what does the President have to do with it? You’d probably hit your finger with a hammer and blame the President!

We have the voter ID requirement when NO specific case of impopriety has been made public. So if Mr Ralston believes nothing has been done wrong…this should be a shoe in for passage! No gifts! Period! Legislators..do your jobs!

If you don’t know about a subject…research it yourself!

TruthBe

January 14th, 2012
7:04 pm

TERM LIMITS for ALL politicans both federal and state.

TruthBe

January 14th, 2012
7:02 pm

Citizens have NO voice in Washington because the “Pay to Play” corrupt politicans are bought and paid for by the inside the beltway lobbyist. President Obama has taken more money from wallstreet and lobbyists than any other president in American History. This man Obama is a liar and a total disgrace as the president. Vote him OUT of office in 2012.

fact

January 14th, 2012
4:27 pm

David Ralston says it is a waste of time so he shouldn’t have any objections to it. Just do it, no long debates necessary. At least bring it to the floor and watch them squirm. This sounds just like Sunday Sales and we know how that turned out when it got to the floor.

Out of the Depths

January 14th, 2012
1:35 pm

The protest of the soul of man who is confronted with social injustice and is groping for a remedy…

I applaud the AJC for taking the first step in this process. Legislative ethics in the Georgia has been due an overhaul for many years. This is definitely a step in the right direction.

Georgia, The "New Mississippi"

January 14th, 2012
1:05 pm

Job creators at work

The Snark

January 14th, 2012
12:50 pm

No gifts. Stop fiddling with dollar limits. No gifts at all. None, nada, zilch. Complete ban.

Then we’ll see what kind of people are still interested in holding public office.

j.a. whitten

January 14th, 2012
12:23 pm

david ralston has no interest in limiting the money a lobbiest can spend on a politician. he took his family and staff to europe last year at lobbiest expense and the people of georgia. did you recieve a report concerning the trip cost of trip was $17000.00 plus

catlady

January 14th, 2012
12:20 pm

Make a one-time limit of $50 and a yearly limit of $100 per lobbyist.

As a public servant (teacher), I cannot accept any gift or bonus. Should be even less than nothing for part time officials.

How embarrassing that every Southern state shows better ethics rules than Georgia. Our state government officials’ motto: If you’ve got money, I am yours!

Ron

January 14th, 2012
11:14 am

Yes, I agree that paid lobbyists have too much influence on our elected leaders. The average citizen is shut out of the process. I vote for ethics reform!