House Republicans consider total ban on lobbyist spending

This blog is about to go silent for a few days, to rest up for the Aug. 21 runoffs.

But we’ll leave you with this tidbit: You know that House Republicans, especially Speaker David Ralston, have endured a great deal of criticism for their opposition to a $100 cap on gifts from lobbyists to state lawmakers.

Last week, 87 percent of GOP voters in the July 31 primary endorsed the cap, which Ralston has called a “gimmick.” To give the speaker his due, it is indeed a low bar. A lobbyist would be able to spend $100 on a lawmaker’s breakfast, and still be allowed to buy him a $100 lunch.

We’ve gotten reliable information – and not from a single source — that House Republican leaders are considering legislation next January that would ban all lobbyist spending on lawmakers altogether. Nothing. Zip. Nada. And that Ralston is among those who have expressed interest in this path.

The impact on the culture of the state Capitol would be tremendous.

Leaders of the state Senate have signed onto the petition pushed by Common Cause Georgia and tea party groups, endorsing the $100 cap.

If you’re looking for a tactical parallel, think of abortion. For years, the House was the recipient of Senate bill after Senate bill that pushed for tougher restrictions. It relied on the House to block them.

But last year, the House up and approved passed HB 954, a bill that shortened the period during which a woman could seek an abortion. It was the most aggressive measure passed in decades. The Senate became the chamber forced to moderate the bill, with a provision that exempted pregnancies in which the fetus was found to be non-viable.

We may be looking at yet another example of one-upmanship. Consider this a signal that if state senators are willing to push the issue of ethics, Ralston’s House is prepared to meet them.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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127 comments Add your comment

Kris

August 9th, 2012
7:51 pm

I will believe it if and when (big IF) I see madein to Law. Should be first on the agenda, signed into law to take effect immediately. Law should include very high fines…Make it hurt.

Calling it

August 9th, 2012
7:58 pm

Calling it now – House passes the Speaker’s plan, Senate passes $100 cap, neither side takes up the other’s bill. Everyone can claim to be for ethics and no bill ever becomes law. Legislators win again.

hiram

August 9th, 2012
8:10 pm

It will never happen, but if it did, you know what is coming next – they will continue to discuss business over lunch, but it will be with a flirtacious, persuasive, beautiful, young female lobbyist, wearing a low cut top and short skirt, and the fat old men will probably pick up THEIR tabs.

Skip

August 9th, 2012
8:14 pm

Never going to happen, never.

Bernie

August 9th, 2012
8:22 pm

Jim, So if I am hearing and understanding what you are saying here?

The REPUBLICAN’S decision to AGREE on a total BAN of gifts. Is to some how be an appeasement to ALL of the WOMEN OF GEORGIA on the issue of PASSED, APPROVED and SIGNED LEGISLATION ENACTED INTO LAW AND FURTHER RESTRICTING THEIR RIGHTS AS A CITIZEN concerning their PERSONAL HEALTHCARE DECISIONS ABOUT THEIR OWN BODIES…. is an ACT OF CONTRITION for passing such LAWS!

OMG! I Can HEAR The SCREAMS OF LAUGHTER……….ALREADY!

LADIES, If YOU are NOT AT THE POLLS in HUGE and RECORD BREAKING NUMBERS…..SMILING! at these CRETINS, then YOU DESERVE all of the THINGS they have DONE UNTO….YOU, YOUR MOTHERS,GRANDMOTHERS, SISTERS, DAUGHTERS, AUNTS, NIECES COUSINS,NEIGHBORS, FRIENDS, and ASSOCIATES!

Steve

August 9th, 2012
8:23 pm

How about banning lobbyists all together? How is it we allow special interest groups to influence out law makers in the first place. Get rid of the lobbyists and it will be a step toward having a functional government.

Fartavious

August 9th, 2012
8:25 pm

Steve is correct.

Wondering

August 9th, 2012
8:31 pm

Absoutely. We should outlaw the right to speak with our elected representatives. What Steve said.

Alex

August 9th, 2012
8:39 pm

I doubt this will ever come to fruition; but if so, it would be interesting to see if it helped to make the sessions shorter??? Without dinners and free tickets, the only thing left to keep them in town would be their girlfriends! Never mind!

Wishful thinking

August 9th, 2012
8:39 pm

I agree Steve. I have been hoping that the ability for anyone to petition the government for any reason what so ever would be prohibited. I advocate for people to make their choices in a vacume with incomplete information, and what will lead us all to the ideal state.

Shine

August 9th, 2012
8:52 pm

Maybe the House gets them a NEW SPEAKER too as Ralston needs to go.

findog

August 9th, 2012
8:55 pm

operative word “consider”

Cobb Voter

August 9th, 2012
8:58 pm

While the $100 gift cap or total ban would be a nice gesture, it is naive to think that it will “solve” ethical failures at the Capitol. First off, politicians are not unlike the rest of us and the professions we are in… there are corrupt IBM workers, doctors and nurses, teachers, preachers, construction workers, lawyers, truck drivers, policemen, journalists, etc. Humanity, at its very nature is a struggle about character – and most, if not all, fail at different times. In the case of politicians, we just get to hear about it and feel better about ourselves.

double

August 9th, 2012
9:09 pm

Increased salary,increased expense per diem.Under table DEALs.It will never stop.Just part of perks.

Kris

August 9th, 2012
9:16 pm

@ double “Under table DEALs.It will never stop.Just part of perks.”

Dirty DEALS behind locked,guarded doors…GA politics at its best,

Options are to vote out or Recall and IMPEACH!

Dome Dawg

August 9th, 2012
9:17 pm

It isn’t the gifts that people should be focusing on here. Lapel pins, cufflinks, rounds of golf, and lunches at Ruth Chris mean nothing compared to someone’s attendance at a $5,000 per person fundraiser.

Sally

August 9th, 2012
9:24 pm

Coming for someone who definately leans Republican, the Republicans in Georgia have been a huge disappointment. Huge! David Ralston at the top of that list. I am so happy the voters sent such a strong message about the lobbyist gifts. We’ll see what happens with that.

Kris

August 9th, 2012
9:28 pm

Don;t forget the use of private jets, resorts and family vacations.

td

August 9th, 2012
9:34 pm

This is a dumb idea. Now at least the voter can keep an eye on the handouts and decide if their politician is worth keeping. Now the under the table deals will increase (wife, daughter, son or friend ) the good job or the discount on getting the house fixed up ect and our politicians will be able to tell the voter how clean they are.

Stupid idea.

oldfart

August 9th, 2012
9:34 pm

What about non-monetary gratuities?

oldfart

August 9th, 2012
9:36 pm

It’s hard to set the price on good companionship.

Kris

August 9th, 2012
9:40 pm

Wonder what the going rate is $$,$$$,$$$$$

jebbery

August 9th, 2012
9:52 pm

@Calling it has it about right…

Thomas

August 9th, 2012
9:57 pm

Georgia Power/ Southern Company will lobby hard to keep them (bribery) gifts a flowing!

Auntie Christ

August 9th, 2012
9:57 pm

Look at the scofflaws we have in office now, at least they require $5,000-$10,000 to sell us out. Enact this law and it just means we’ll end up with a bunch of worse malefactors willing sell us out for $100.

hiram

August 9th, 2012
10:00 pm

@td

I guess these guys were just stupid.

The hostility to, and general absence of, open lobbying in the First Congress was entirely
consistent with what we know about the political culture of the early United States. It would have
been directly contrary to the hopes of the Federal Constitution’s framers if the new government
had been immediately overrun by modern interest or pressure group politics.

Most of the men we now know as the Founders disliked political parties and other forms of concerted, aggressive, competitive political action outside of the direst political emergencies.
James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and many other leaders felt that the essence of good government, and virtuous leadership, was dis-interestedness, and they had been profoundly disturbed by the selfinterested, narrow-minded politics they saw dominating the newly democratized state governments during the 1780s. This was one of the chief ideas motivating the drive to replace the old confederation with a federal government that would not be under the states’ control.

While Madison and Hamilton knew that there inevitably would be competing interests in America that
would selfishly seek benefits and advantages from the government, they hoped that their new
national state would be large, diverse, and distant enough to prevent any particular local interest
from amassing the legislative majorities necessary to carry out their schemes.

http://pasleybrothers.com/mocourses/jefferson/Pasley_lobbying_chapter.pdf

GaBlue

August 9th, 2012
10:03 pm

For anyone who believes that David Ralston just grew a set of integrity nuggets, I have a chalet to sell you on the slopes of Ocala. Great place to cool off. Perfect for snowboarding!

td,

I have an even better deal for you! See, there’s this bridge up in New York…

td

August 9th, 2012
10:09 pm

hiram

August 9th, 2012
10:00 pm

You do realize that our founding fathers were the top 1%? They were working to keep the wealth they already had and such things as political parties would only get in their way.

td

August 9th, 2012
10:11 pm

GaBlue

August 9th, 2012
10:03 pm

td,

I have an even better deal for you! See, there’s this bridge up in New York…

I see you are an avid watcher of MSNBC and and a fan of Al. Explains a great deal.

Mandingo

August 9th, 2012
10:15 pm

You can bet your last $$$$$$ that is all the Johnny Reb House Republicans are going to do IS “consider”

GaBlue

August 9th, 2012
10:22 pm

td,

Um…. you’re hallucinating again. MSNBC has way too many annoying pharmaceutical commercials in an hour of programming for me to tolerate. Former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough (google his name with Lori Klausutis to see how the Jeb Bush handles a Kennedy-style dead girl scandal) can’t be bothered to deliver a single scrap of news in the morning, for all the caffeine-pumped shouting they do about what Americans think of an election that’s months or years away. BORRRRRRR-ING!

I know more than one Al, and you’re connecting dots that aren’t actually there. Maybe it’s time to adjust those meds again, you think? Bless your heart.

hiram

August 9th, 2012
10:24 pm

@td

Newt taught you well. Just make it up as you go.

“f the people were not vigilant, if the people let elites manipulate politics, an aristocracy of wealth would re-emerge in their young republic and eventually destroy it. No republic, the Jeffersonians argued, can tolerate inequality and survive. The new United States, as James Madison had noted, needed to become more equal, through laws that, “without violating the rights of property, reduce extreme wealth towards a state of mediocrity, and raise extreme indigence toward a state of comfort.”
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/04/23/969608/-Founding-Fathers-and-Wealth

hiram

August 9th, 2012
10:38 pm

td,
Romney represents the absolute opposite of what they were trying to accomplish. What is laughable is when morons like Bachmann or Palin try to tie their idiotic rhetoric to the founding fathers. They would have put all them, including Romney, on a ship to nowhere.

Bernie

August 9th, 2012
10:43 pm

A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, radio address, Oct. 26, 1939

James

August 9th, 2012
11:22 pm

They’ll still be able to cheat on their spouses and have sex with attractive young lobbyists, right? Since prostitution is illegal, there’s no monetary value for having sex with someone which means it would be quite legal for them to trade rolls in the hay for a vote her way.

karl

August 9th, 2012
11:42 pm

Ralston will be a big supporter, if the special interest can’t spend money, imagine how many more of his relatives will suddently be offerred jobs by advocacy groups. Son-n-law, niece, pretty soon all of Blue Ridge will be trolling the halls of the Gold Dome.

Hillbilly D

August 10th, 2012
12:02 am

The Jeffersonians and the Hamiltonians were two separate, opposing factions.

Kris

August 10th, 2012
12:23 am

Which any other place but Georgia would be considered nepotism.

frugal voter

August 10th, 2012
3:08 am

To totally eliminate the lobbying money will put a serious hurt on the restaurants that I could never afford to patronize.

rawmilkdrinker

August 10th, 2012
4:12 am

Well, it used to be that you couldn’t buy a drink while the polls were open so as to not succumb to selling your vote for a couple of cold beers or a double shot of demon rum. Smart candidates stocked up prior to election day with “walking around alcohol”

Attack Dog

August 10th, 2012
4:30 am

Since Georgia is a “Red State,” we see exactly how the country was run during the first decade of the 21st century, and would be run again with a Dixiecrat majority.

Money Bags or Bags of Money

August 10th, 2012
6:09 am

What about the gifts that are not from lobbyists. Shouldn’t there be a limit/ban on those too?

As the law stands, anyone of us can give any size gift to our legislators (there are some restrictions). Right now we have no way of knowing about these gifts. They are unreported. Shouldn’t legislators at least have to disclose ALL the gifts they receive?

Old School Girl

August 10th, 2012
6:18 am

Hahahahahaha ROL hahahah…will never happen.

Our elected officials will figure out a way around the laws, or eliminate departments that enforce the laws. We will see a drastic increase in ‘in-kind’ favors indrectly to them, their family members, friends, or business partners…..

Money Bags or Bags of Money

August 10th, 2012
6:18 am

Also, this gift ban idea is great and everything but even after we ban these gifts, our state will still be last in the nation for ethics. http://www.stateintegrity.org/georgia
We need a lot more than just a gift ban. We need:
1. an independent and appropriately funded ethics commission
2. An ethics commission that has the ability to start investigations
3. An ethics commission that has subpoena powers

The above are only just a few simple suggestions. There are dozens more, if you read the report. Our state is a mess, in this area.

Money Bags or Bags of Money

August 10th, 2012
6:21 am

We can be cynical and defeatist or we can call and write our legislators and ask them to take action. We can support challengers in primary races and general elections. We can support third party candidates like the Green Party or Tea Party

Scott Anderson

August 10th, 2012
6:48 am

get rid of all lobbyists

its pathetic what they have done to this country

any of us have a job where ppl try to ply you with cash and gifts to get you to do things ?

and its been going on for 100 years.

why ………America allows them to make the laws.

Wake up America – we cant be stupid forever.

[...] Galloway writes for the AJC that House leaders may be considering a total ban on lobbyist spending on legislators. We’ve gotten reliable information – and not from a single source — that House Republican [...]

SouthernGal

August 10th, 2012
7:07 am

@Bernie…why is BC or abortion a political matter?
1. I would prefer my tax money pay for abortions for those who should never ever be allowed to breed.

2. Legal sterilization of baby daddy’s and baby mamma’s who breed indiscriminately!

Ronnie Raygun

August 10th, 2012
7:20 am

Unfortunately the biggest bribes are the hardest to crack down on. Lobby firms have found that hiring a politician’s spouse and/or children for a no-show job is the easiest “legal” way to bribe them.

Tom

August 10th, 2012
7:47 am

Unless the Senate leadership replaces the Chair of the Rules Committee, it’s going to be SSDY.