By Bob Irvin
Last month, the Georgia House of Representatives passed the most significant ethics reform bill in 20 years. It prohibits gifts to legislators from lobbyists (a “zero cap”), but with some significant exceptions — such as travel “in connection with official business.” Unfortunately, that could be interpreted to be almost anything. Now the whole state waits to see what the Senate does.
In the House, my old friend Rep. Rich Golick wondered aloud why Common Cause Georgia is supporting a $100 cap on lobbyist gifts, “which would lead to more lobbyist spending,” instead of the House bill’s zero cap. It’s a question that deserves a serious answer. Here it is.
First, we are simply trying to get the will of the voters implemented. Last summer, more than 1.2 million Georgians (83 percent of all those voting in both the Democratic and Republican primaries) voted for imposing a limit on lobbyist gifts, with Republicans voting specifically for a $100 cap. At