Ga. legislators face starvation on $100-a-meal limit

Most Georgia voters are appalled by the realization that under state law, there is literally no limit on the value of gifts that a lobbyist can bestow upon a state legislator. And while many of those voters would prefer a limit of zero, as many other states have, they would accept a $100 gift limit as a compromise.

Unfortunately, a lot of state legislators don’t see a $100 limit as a compromise. They see the very concept of a limit as an undeserved, media-driven attack on their God-given prerogative to be wined, dined and entertained lavishly at lobbyists’ expense. In fact, it’s revealing to see them fight so hard to cling to gifts that they simultaneously claim to not really want much in the first place. Their behavior negates their rhetoric.

In the interest of good government, however, I’d like to try to ease fears under the Gold Dome by taking a few moments to explore what life under a $100 gift limit might look like.

Let’s imagine that you’re a legislator and it’s the opening week of the first legislative session with a $100 gift limit. Let’s further imagine two totally unrelated events: One, you’ve just been appointed to the House Banking Committee; and two, a banking industry lobbyist has just become a close personal friend eager to share the bounties of his expense account.

What impact would a $100 gift limitation do to that burgeoning bromance?

(For the record, I’m assuming it’s a bromance, and not a romance, because there may be legislative spouses back home reading this and well, you know.)

So let’s see how the imaginary workweek might go, shall we?

– On the first day of the session, my lobbyist gave to me: A round of golf at Chateau Elan.

Golf, we are told, is a great bonding experience. Total value of a weekday morning round at Chateau Elan’s championship golf course is $60, which leaves $40 to be spent in further bonding at the 19th hole. (As a certain legislator from Columbus learned the hard way, a designated driver might be a good idea for the trip home.)

– On the second day of session, my lobbyist gave to me: Two tickets to Monster Truck Jam.

Total value of two club-level seats, $100. (It turns out that’s a very popular freebie — last year, legislators accepted $1,350 worth of Monster Jam tickets. Apparently they like watching big things roll over and squash smaller things.)

– On the third day of the session, my lobbyist gave to me: dinner at Rathbun’s restaurant.

According to the menu at Rathbun’s, one of the city’s finer eating establishments, an entree of elk chop served with a blueberry demi-glace over a foraged-mushroom goat-cheese polenta would be $40. Not exactly meat-and-three prices, but not exactly meat-and three either.

You would need a full-bodied red wine to stand up to the flavor of that elk — may I suggest a glass of Terra Valentine cabernet sauvignon, 2009 vintage, at $19 a glass? Add an appetizer of hot smoked salmon tostadas habanero with crème fraiche for $9.95, and finish it off with a fine after-dinner scotch — let’s try the Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or at $17.25. Grand total? $86.

(I’ve heard it seriously argued by opponents of a gift limit that Georgia legislators aren’t paid very much (which is true) and that lobbyist-provided meals help them stretch their daily per diem of $173. But clearly, one can keep body and soul together quite nicely while remaining under the proposed $100 limit.)

– On the fourth day of the session, my lobbyist gave to me: a black silk tie from Neiman Marcus.

(Because you see, last night at dinner some of that “foraged-mushroom goat-cheese polenta” fell on the tie I was wearing, and we all know how hard polenta stains are to remove. So my lobbyist pal stopped by Neiman’s and picked out a brand new Robert Graham textured-stripe silk tie, just $98!)

– On the fifth day of the session, my lobbyist bought for me: A box seat at tonight’s Braves game.

And not just any seat. It’s in Section 113, right behind the Braves dugout and close enough to ask Freddie Freeman how his new contact lenses are working out. Total price: $91.65 for the ticket, plus $6.50 for a beer, equals $98.15.

By opposing a $100 gift limit, legislators and their leaders are in effect saying that the gifts described above — meals, activities and purchases that most Georgians will never experience — are just not good enough for them, and they want better. I’m sorry, but I find that remarkable.

– Jay Bookman

773 comments Add your comment

Normal Free...Pro Human Rights Thug...And liking it!

June 13th, 2012
6:30 am

Jay dead threaded me! So…
I repeat myself…
Right wing sex education film…

http://history.icanhascheezburger.com/2012/06/12/funny-pictures-history-passion-destroyer-of-lives/

:D

Normal Free...Pro Human Rights Thug...And liking it!

June 13th, 2012
6:32 am

As to the topic…

Meh,

They could afford to lose a few pounds of pork…

the cat

June 13th, 2012
6:40 am

Silly me-I thought the $100 cap was for the ENTIRE session.

Facts will prevail

June 13th, 2012
6:43 am

Excellent read! Keep up the good work. Without the AJC, we the voters would NEVER know that all of this is happening under the Gold Dome!!!

Jay

June 13th, 2012
6:45 am

Oughtta be, Cat.

But isn’t.

Washingtonorbust

June 13th, 2012
6:47 am

If $100.00 won’t feed these bloated self important clowns then they can starve.

godless heathen

June 13th, 2012
6:51 am

You just can’t get a good $100 steak in this town anymore.

Ronnie Raygun

June 13th, 2012
6:51 am

So their complaining about a limit of $100 per day per lobbyist? Do these legislators know that many Georgians are living on much less than $100 a day?

Skip

June 13th, 2012
6:53 am

Used to be they didn’t want us to know how crooked they were, now they don’t care. You can’t stop em.

Ronald Reagan Parkway

June 13th, 2012
6:58 am

Is there an ongoing investigation into the ethics problems that Gwinnett County is having?

This is Mrs. Norman Maine

June 13th, 2012
6:58 am

Well done Jay!

MiltonMan

June 13th, 2012
7:12 am

Jay, remind us of a few things here:

(1) What were the limits when the democrats were in charge?
(2) Did you have any issues when the city of Atlanta officials were being wined and dined by none other than the French prior to contract award of the MARTA rail cars. Which was “won” by the French company.

Granny Godzilla - Union Thugette

June 13th, 2012
7:14 am

Is that limit per gift or per day?

Could lobbyist #1 pay for the dinner at Rathburns and then later that evening lobbyist #2 provide orchestra seats at the Fox and then lobbyist
#3 host some drinking and dancing at the Pink Pony?

AT just 100 bucks a day a year…..the value of the possible gifts is greater than the median income in Georgia in 2011. (35,490)

Sources: Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Business and Economic Research, University of New Mexico, Bureau of Labor Statistics

This stinks to high heaven.

stands for decibels

June 13th, 2012
7:14 am

Do these legislators know that many Georgians are living on much less than $100 a day?

hmm… 100/day… works out to…

Lightbulb moment!

I’m willing to compromise. Our legislators can have unlimited access to gifts and goodies IF they establish a minimum wage in GA of $18.25/hour.

Deal?

stands for decibels

June 13th, 2012
7:18 am

Oughtta be, Cat.

indeed. A cap like this ought to cover anyone who (as I like to use as an example) accepts a free corn dog at a county fair, minor stuff like that. I’m not terribly concerned if our legislators aren’t able to avail themselves of finer restaurants, country clubs, etc.

If they want their work to support such things, they can have the balls/ovaries to propose legislation that would increase their own pay to that of the professional class wooing them, and see how the voters feel about it. Hey, you never know–Georgians might actually believe such a thing is ok, in order to attract topnotch talent.

(I know, I kid because I love.)

independent thinker

June 13th, 2012
7:20 am

circus clowns eat a lot

stands for decibels

June 13th, 2012
7:20 am

an entree of elk chop

elk alert!

Jay

June 13th, 2012
7:20 am

Milton, when I got here in 1990, there were no limits. There was also no reporting. At my urging, the AJC edit board made it a major priority to force reporting of gifts, and after a major campaign and strong public support, including some heroics by individual legislators such as Ken Poston of Ringgold, House Speaker Tom Murphy and his ruling Democrats were forced to accept reporting of gifts.

This is the next step in that process.

You, sir, make yourself looking petty by trying to imply this is partisan. A gift limit is a good thing regardless of which party is in power, because neither party is immune to temptation.

Georgia, " The New Mississippi "

June 13th, 2012
7:22 am

This is what Georgia wants. Political office is treated like a money making enterprise. The voters have spoken.

Jay

June 13th, 2012
7:22 am

It is a limit per gift.

As some legislators have pointed out in opposing it, there would be a lot of ways around such a limit.

Would they then be interested in closing those loopholes? Well, as it turns out, no.

ajcer

June 13th, 2012
7:31 am

jay, we dont often agree, but i cannot think of any real conservative that thinks that the $100/gift limit is acceptable (other than the alleged conservative politicians). this is crony capitalism, the very thing we are railing against Obama about. this is pay-for-play at its finest. any true conservative should state that the market, not how much a lobbyist pays off, err, bribes, er prostitutes, sorry, pays off, sorry again, offers to a politician.

as a true conservative, i fully support the ajc’s efforts in bringing this to light. good job on this one, jay.

Granny Godzilla - Union Thugette

June 13th, 2012
7:33 am

MiltonMan

Are you with ajcer?

stands for decibels

June 13th, 2012
7:34 am

i cannot think of any real conservative that thinks that the $100/gift limit is acceptable

Just trying to suss out your meaning here–are you saying there should be no gifts at all, or do you find the limit to be too high, too low…

(I think you’re saying it’s actually too high, but am not sure.)

Mr_B

June 13th, 2012
7:34 am

Hold them to the same standard as, say, a GBI agent or a GSP officer. NO gifts at NO time for NO reason. Exempt family and personal friends from prior to their election.

Aquagirl

June 13th, 2012
7:35 am

You, sir, make yourself looking petty by trying to imply this is partisan.

Our potbelly pig legislators can always count on MiltonMen to shriek “but…but…TOM MURPHY!”

Some folks are so partisan their ego is at stake. Be gentle on them, Jay. (/sarc)

Amiga

June 13th, 2012
7:35 am

Los republicanos en el estado de Georgia han aprobado leyes duras que suprime a los inmigrantes latinos que están en este estado. Ellos se quejan de los inmigrantes ilegales tomando los trabajos lejos de georgianos. Por otro lado, las legislaturas están recibiendo regalos del cabildero que muchos ven como un conflicto de intereses. No se deje engañar por los republicanos en este país. Cualquier votación para un titular de oficina republicana es un voto contra su mejor interés.

Obama/Biden 2012

A Simple Man

June 13th, 2012
7:37 am

Hey Jay,

We are about as far apart politically as it gets, but you are right on this one. It is sad how the politicians behave. It is not a public “service” anymore. It’s a get rich scam, but voters such as myself are to blame. Too many of us put up with it. We should be down at their vault with torches and pitch forks throwing the out. Nonviolently, of course.

Mr_B

June 13th, 2012
7:37 am

” the market, not how much a lobbyist pays off, err, bribes, er prostitutes, sorry, pays off, sorry again, offers to a politician.”

But that IS the market: what does it cost to buy/ rent this particular pol on this particular issue. Adam Smith would be so proud.

carlosgvv

June 13th, 2012
7:38 am

Jay, this is pretty much a hopeless cause. Georgia politicians in both parties have shown they have no intention of setting any limit on lobbyist’s gifts.

I voted for Obama because I hoped he would get us out of Afghanistan promptly. We’re still there and Republicans have indicated they want us to stay there.

So, when both parties refuse to do the will of the majority, you can either not vote or accept it and vote for the lesser of the evils.

On these issues and many more, when it comes to getting politicians to do the right thing, there’s no help, no hope and no future.

stands for decibels

June 13th, 2012
7:39 am

Ok, how about if we Thought About the Children, and the law allowed for cost of living increases each year? Would they go for it then?

(That’s not total snark, actually–I don’t particularly like any legislation that proposes dollar-limits or fines that fail to include a provision for inflation.)

Mr_B

June 13th, 2012
7:41 am

“on this particular issue(?) I don’t do punctuation well before the second cup of coffee.

Jay

June 13th, 2012
7:41 am

I’ve been told it’s a hopeless cause before, Carlos. And yet the momentum keeps building. Last session, for example, the Senate leadership ignored it. Now they have come around to embrace it.

stands for decibels

June 13th, 2012
7:43 am

Mr_B, I actually think it worked more persuasively without the question mark? A question mark at the end of the sentence sometimes confers a lack of confidence in the argument? Know what I mean.

MiltonMan

June 13th, 2012
7:44 am

Thanks Jay for the information. Believe me, I am not happy with the inaction by the reps on this and have contacted the offices of Jan Jones and Chip Rogers about this. My present employeer disallows us accepting/giving any gift of any value from/to any current/former/potential customer.

iggy

June 13th, 2012
7:45 am

Being wined and dined by prospcctive clients is how business works, but I guess you with your cushy do nothing job wouldnt understand such.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, bookman.

Mr_B

June 13th, 2012
7:45 am

Stands: It was intended as a rhetorical question; but I get your point.

Common Damn Sense isn't Very Common

June 13th, 2012
7:46 am

stands for decibels

June 13th, 2012
7:49 am

My present employeer disallows us accepting/giving any gift of any value from/to any current/former/potential customer.

Yep. Many of us operate under similar guidelines. And many of us don’t accept gifts from vendors just because we think it’s the right thing to do, regardless of any written company policy.

Estados Unidos

June 13th, 2012
7:50 am

El voto Latino podría ser un factor decisivo en aliasen si Presidente Obama puede ganar el estado de Georgia. Si no están registrados para votar, por favor, registrar y mostrar el día de las elecciones. Recuerda que tu voto “cuenta” y puede hacer una diferencia en este estado, así como en los Estados Unidos!

Lord Help Us

June 13th, 2012
7:50 am

Perhaps they are worried about the ’slippery slope’ of ethics…pretty soon people like Chip Rogers could be thought of as a charlatan just for dumping loans on people and skating off…

Mr_B

June 13th, 2012
7:51 am

“Being wined and dined by prospcctive clients is how business works, but I guess you with your cushy do nothing job wouldnt understand such.”

Yeah! Let’s run government like a business!!

stands for decibels

June 13th, 2012
7:52 am

Being wined and dined by prospcctive clients is how business works

Thanks. I’m sure nobody here had considered that angle. Least of all Soshuhmalist Jay.

Jay

June 13th, 2012
7:53 am

Yeah, ya gotta love the logic: I have a cushy job because I DON’T get wined and dined.

Estados Unidos

June 13th, 2012
7:54 am

El voto Latino ha sido referido como el “gigante dormido”. Eso es porque millones de Latinos son elegibles para votar, pero aún no se han registrado. Si registrar y mostrar a las urnas, ese gigante awoken podría determinar la elección presidencial de 2012.De hecho, en ocho Estados, el número de potenciales votantes latinos es mayor que el margen de victoria en las elecciones presidenciales de 2008, de acuerdo con una infografía lanzado por el Center for American Progress el martes.Casi 4,5 millones posibles latinos votantes California superan por cuatro veces los uno millones de votantes que fueron el margen de victoria en las elecciones presidenciales de 2008, de acuerdo a la PAC.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/12/latino-2012_n_1591622.html

Granny Godzilla - Union Thugette

June 13th, 2012
7:54 am

iggy

June 13th, 2012
7:45 am
Being wined and dined by prospcctive clients is how business works, but I guess you with your cushy do nothing job wouldnt understand such.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, bookman.

It is? Really?

That’s called monkey business.

Common Damn Sense isn't Very Common

June 13th, 2012
7:55 am

Kind of like Cheney leaving gov’t service joining Haliburton then leaving Haliburton to be VP.

And help me remember who is being paid to rebuild Iraq?

And what company’s new country of residence is Dubai?

Think local, convict local :-)

stands for decibels

June 13th, 2012
7:55 am

Jay, you going to do something about that Spanish-language troll who is spreading lies about iggy’s mother?

(For the record, she ALWAYS plied me with the good stuff.)

Mr_B

June 13th, 2012
7:56 am

Wined and dined envy, Jay?

Common Damn Sense isn't Very Common

June 13th, 2012
7:58 am

Being wined and dined by prospcctive clients is how business works, but I guess you with your cushy do nothing job wouldnt understand such.

————————————————————————

And thats why you see many sweetheart deals in business that ultimately screw the stockholders :-)

Jay

June 13th, 2012
7:59 am

No, Mr. B.

If you wanted design a personal hell for me, having dinner and drinks with lobbyists would be a big part of it. I keep my work life and social life as separate as possible.

Common Damn Sense isn't Very Common

June 13th, 2012
8:00 am

Jay

I am crushed. I thought WE WERE YOUR SOCIAL LIFE :-)

Bob Loblaw

June 13th, 2012
8:02 am

It must be Jay’s day to write a lobbyists’ gift cap column! Do they give y’all a $100 bonus for completing these?

the cat

June 13th, 2012
8:04 am

Bob Loblaw-I think you are looking for Kyle’s blog. Go away please.

willydoit?

June 13th, 2012
8:05 am

@Estados Unidos

TYPE ENGLISH!!!

Thomas Heyward Jr.

June 13th, 2012
8:06 am

P-test’em.
.
All.

Tundra Dude

June 13th, 2012
8:06 am

Granny G:
That’s called monkey business

When the pay for the job is peanuts,
no surprise only monkeys apply.

Bob Loblaw

June 13th, 2012
8:06 am

Absolutely not. Also, Jay, your math didn’t include sales taxes or tips. You’d of blown the cap at Neiman’s. :)

skipper

June 13th, 2012
8:07 am

But Jay;
What fun is it being in politics if you cannot take advantage of all the goodies??? lol

NoEthicsInGeorgia

June 13th, 2012
8:14 am

Good article, Jay. Truth is, and it is not even questionable, there are NO ethics with the politicians of this state. The limit SHOULD be $0. If lobbyists wish to speak with legislators, they should make an appointment & attempt to make their case. Nothing should exchange hands. At let’s face facts, the politicians don’t want this to end, they are lining their stomachs and their pockets. It’s just more evidence that not only do the politicians of Georgia lack ethics, they have no character or integrity.

ken

June 13th, 2012
8:14 am

The privileged class. Just ask em.

Estados Unidos

June 13th, 2012
8:14 am

willydoit?

June 13th, 2012
8:05 am

@Estados Unidos

TYPE ENGLISH!!!

_________

Hello!

Mr_B

June 13th, 2012
8:15 am

“When the pay for the job is peanuts,
no surprise only monkeys apply.”

Well we could pay ‘em better, but we spent the money someplace else.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204880404577229252169260694.html

Tundra Dude

June 13th, 2012
8:15 am

Mrs. Norman Maine: Well done Jay

Did you just order the elk chop…??

ByteMe - Political thug

June 13th, 2012
8:16 am

I’m sorry, but I find that remarkable.

Too understated. If you want to make it to the “bigs”, you gotta show serious moral outrage as though they shot your dog.

USinUK - pro-gay-marriage thug and former Girl Scout

June 13th, 2012
8:17 am

“Being wined and dined by prospcctive clients is how business works”

business … yes …

does that mean that the LEGISLATURE is in the business of being bought for their votes???

GT

June 13th, 2012
8:17 am

I would like to see us get into the face of some of these lobbyist too. They seem to be making our laws now days so I think we need to find out more about them. Like FOX Network, which is nothing more than a glorified lobbyist on the air, I wouldn’t mind seeing a 24 hour network that did nothing but follow lobbyist like politicians. Who are they eating and meeting with. Since they have so much more access to law makers than we do as voters I think any 60 Minutes means to put a limelight on these guys is and should be acceptable. I bet it would get physical after a while, like reporting on the Mafia. In fact there is not much difference as you peel back the layers. We find gambling and prostitution right in the middle of a lot of this.

Unlimited gifts and superpacs have a lot in common. The New York Times has a really good article this morning of how the drug cartel broke into the quarter horse racing community in the U.S. by spending money. When you start seeing how supposedly decent people accepted killers into their social circle it is not a far stretch to see this happening here. Some people have said the basic state legislature is made of good people. Where in this day and time does one allow for describing money grabbers as good people. They may have been at one time, I am sure even the Godfather was at one time but money corrupts and for many in this state legislature and Congress it is almost too easy to buy them. This morning in places like the OK Cafe or one of the country clubs, or a hotel restaurant their is corruption going on. I would love to interrupt it with a camera and some questions of what are you talking about here. Or just stare at them like there was a drug deal going down right there, because to me selling out as a elected official is as bad as any drug deal on the streets.

ByteMe - Political thug

June 13th, 2012
8:17 am

… or at least that it’s YOUR elk they ate at Rathbun’s.

BTW, I think Bones is better for steak. Rathbun’s is better for the Ya-ya fries.

USinUK - pro-gay-marriage thug and former Girl Scout

June 13th, 2012
8:18 am

USinUK - pro-gay-marriage thug and former Girl Scout

June 13th, 2012
8:19 am

as for the Elk … I dunno … my dad used to be an ELK – the men I used to see at the club were usually soused, so I imagine the meat would be fatty – and have a bad aftertaste of cheap bourbon …

ByteMe - Political thug

June 13th, 2012
8:19 am

Being wined and dined by prospcctive clients is how business works

It’s the other way around: vendors wine and dine clients. Well, except some of my clients like to buy me food, but I think they just want to be sure I’m eating ok….

And many many companies have a strict policy against vendors buying their employees gifts. Just to keep everyone honest.

ByteMe - Political thug

June 13th, 2012
8:20 am

Like FOX Network, which is nothing more than a glorified lobbyist on the air, I wouldn’t mind seeing a 24 hour network that did nothing but follow lobbyist like politicians

Let’s start with Georgia Power’s lobbyists….

Estados Unidos

June 13th, 2012
8:21 am

GT

June 13th, 2012
8:17 am
______

Tienes los mejores post de la mañana!

carlosgvv

June 13th, 2012
8:21 am

Jay – 7:41

You must learn to pick your battles more carefully. Getting Georgia politicians off the lobbyist gravy train will NEVER happen. Money will always find a way. Perhaps it’s time for you to re-read Don Quixote.

Peadawg

June 13th, 2012
8:21 am

“On the fifth day of the session, my lobbyist bought for me: A box seat at tonight’s Braves game.”

I want to be a politician.

interested observer

June 13th, 2012
8:21 am

What is the AJC’s policy on the acceptance of gifts to reporters from the people they cover? A lot less liberal than $100 per incidence, I imagine.

sheepdawg

June 13th, 2012
8:21 am

what’s sad is that out state’s ignorant voters will march to the polls and and vote the same clowns and crooks back into office. what is the definition of insanity?

josef

June 13th, 2012
8:22 am

IMAM

Bromance? Is that what y’all are calling it now? :-)

Great column, BTW :-)

$100? From what I understand you can’t even get a decent hooker for that.

WILLYDOIT

Type English? He did, before he hit “translate” on Google!

ESTADOS UNIDOS, et al
Seriously, if you don’t have at least some familiarity with the language, stay away from the on-line translations. They have to be “cleaned up” before using and you have to know what it is you’re looking for to clean up.

Here’s an idea, cap it at minimum wage per diem.

ByteMe - Political thug

June 13th, 2012
8:22 am

I want to be a politician.

It’s like blog commenting in terms of people saying bad things about you. But the bennies are better.

kayaker 71

June 13th, 2012
8:22 am

We are about to indict a Attorney General for contempt of Congress and there is pretty solid evidence that someone in the Bozo WH leaked Top Secret documents to make Bozo look more “presidential” and Bookman writes another column about those evil Republicans in the GA Assembly. This is selective indignation at it’s worst/best.

ByteMe - Political thug

June 13th, 2012
8:23 am

This is selective indignation at it’s worst/best.

Your description of your posting is quite apt, K71.

Butch Cassidy

June 13th, 2012
8:23 am

LOBBYIST ENVY!!!! Now, feel free to talk amongst yourselves. :)

Jay

June 13th, 2012
8:24 am

Interested, the AJC rule is zero. Nobody buys you a lunch or a beer or anything. And that’s the way I’d operate anyway.

Common Damn Sense isn't Very Common

June 13th, 2012
8:24 am

USinUK@8:19 am

as for the Elk … I dunno … my dad used to be an ELK – the men I used to see at the club were usually soused, so I imagine the meat would be fatty – and have a bad aftertaste of cheap bourbon ——————————————————-

My dad was also in Marietta, I am sure they knew each other then LOL

The moose would be the same :-)

USinUK - pro-gay-marriage thug and former Girl Scout

June 13th, 2012
8:25 am

“Bromance? Is that what y’all are calling it now?”

the symbiotic relationship that dare not speak its name …

Estados Unidos

June 13th, 2012
8:26 am

josef

June 13th, 2012
8:22 am

josef

June 13th, 2012
8:22 am
Eres mi instructor español? Sabes si soy experto en español? Eres hispano?

Mighty Righty

June 13th, 2012
8:26 am

I agree with you Jay. I don’t know why they don’t put restrictions on their gifts from lobbyists. They could do like Obama does and have $10,000 dollar a plate dinners, eight in one day and get enough money to buy their own tickets to Monster Truck whatevers. All they would have to do in return is give the lobbyist a few hundred million in return to train bus drivers in green jobs.

USinUK - pro-gay-marriage thug and former Girl Scout

June 13th, 2012
8:26 am

Common – my brother, sister and I were lucky enough to be of an age when we were there in its heyday in the 1970s – the pool was packed with kids every weekend … it was awesome!

(but, yeah, even when I was a kid, there were a few of the grown-ups that creeped me out)

gadem

June 13th, 2012
8:26 am

Wealth Envy!!!!!!

USinUK - pro-gay-marriage thug and former Girl Scout

June 13th, 2012
8:27 am

welp … it least it took until page to before “but … but … but … OBAMA” ..

talk about a demonstration of restraint!

:roll:

A dad

June 13th, 2012
8:27 am

Agree 100% with this article (and who said political opposites could never find common ground). Most politicians these days are little more than whores, interested only in what they can get their grubby little hands on and lacking any concept of the term “public service.” As for me, I am voting against every incumbent regardless of party. Only if we eliminate half the incubents will we be able to get the attention of the remaining half. All the gifts in the world cannot overcome none of the public voting for you. The revolution starts with dad. Any takers?

Estados Unidos

June 13th, 2012
8:28 am

josef,

Creo que usted es la persona más informada en el blog?

Mr_B

June 13th, 2012
8:29 am

Wow , it took Yaker almost two hours to complain about Jay not picking HIS GOP-manufactured scandal de jour.

Getting up late, I see.

“Bookman writes another column about those evil Republicans in the GA Assembly.”

Please show me the word “Republican” in the post.

Granny Godzilla - Union Thugette

June 13th, 2012
8:29 am

K 71

Michelle Bachmann is in the White House?

The stuxnet and drone briefings included her….and if you check you’ll find records of Speaker Boehner sitting her down and talking to her about leaks.

Looney Bin

June 13th, 2012
8:30 am

“We are about to indict a Attorney General for contempt of Congress and there is pretty solid evidence that someone in the Bozo WH leaked Top Secret documents to make Bozo look more “presidential” and Bookman writes another column about those evil Republicans in the GA Assembly. This is selective indignation at it’s worst/best.”

WAAAAA!!!! Write about things that make Obama look bad!!! WAAAA!!!!!!!

Bob Loblaw

June 13th, 2012
8:31 am

@GT: Following around lobbyists? I think they call that stalking? Lobbyists aren’t public figures like politicians. Be careful.

Granny Godzilla - Union Thugette

June 13th, 2012
8:31 am

Mighty Righty

What was the per plate of the Romney fund raiser the other night here in town?

Was it 50,000?

Talking Head

June 13th, 2012
8:32 am

I couldn’t agree with you more on this one, Jay. In a past life I would take clients out to sporting events, dinner, golf, etc. and all purchases I made would be considered ‘expenses’ and I got reimbursed. Were some purchases over $100? Sure, but it wasn’t an every day ritual either. Our State Reps and Sentators should not be given any additional special treatment than any other perspective ‘client’ in the real business world. I wouldn’t oppose however, an occasional ‘trip’ somewhere as long as it was with in reason and the State would benefit from the ‘trip’.

the cat

June 13th, 2012
8:33 am

I asked earlier-was it ever disclosed who hosted the Romney dinner? The rumors I heard said Arthur Blank.

Peadawg

June 13th, 2012
8:34 am

kayaker 71
June 13th, 2012
8:22 am

blogger.com is ready when you are big guy

ByteMe - Political thug

June 13th, 2012
8:34 am

From a story online now on ajc.com:

Outside group-funded travel is separate from taxpayer-funded congressional delegation trips, which arise out of lawmakers’ committee work. This category also does not cover political travel paid for with campaign cash.

Trips funded by outside groups increased in number (1,600), average duration (more than four days) and average cost ($3,638) in 2011, according to LegiStorm. Steady increases have come each year since the 2007 ethics law put a damper on travel.

The pace of trips has only accelerated in 2012, including Tifton Rep. Austin Scott’s January excursion to Taiwan with his wife and two staff members. They flew first class and stayed in the $200-per-night Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, with the total tab of nearly $45,000 picked up by Fu Jen Catholic University, an elite school on the island that has hosted several members of Congress.

A Taiwanese Catholic University wants to pay US Congressmen $45K to come to their tiny country?