« Ind. Courts - More on: The first "help desk" -- for the newfangled "book" | Main | Ind. Decisions - Transfer list for week ending Sept. 12, 2008 »

Monday, September 15, 2008

Legislative Benefits - More on: Lawmaker to lobbyist, yet again

Updating this ILB entry from Sept. 13th quoting an editorial from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, the Indianapolis Star today adds its editorial voice, under the headline "No plausible way to spin Statehouse revolving door." Some quotes:

The issue is not Ripley. It is the credibility of the Indiana General Assembly. More than 30 individuals who are paid to lobby the legislature for special interests are former legislators. Whatever other attributes may grace their resumes, their personal relationships with their ex-colleagues have to be a prime qualification for their new jobs.

In such a chummy climate, there is an inevitable danger of losing sight of the general interests of taxpayers, those strangers who are without lobbyists. Moreover, the so-called revolving door from legislative chamber to legislative hallway has led to the perception, and perhaps the reality, that the Senate and House are training camps for those who would shape the law to suit narrow private purposes.

The majority of states have acknowledged the potential conflict by enacting one- or two-year waiting periods between departure from the legislature and employment as a lobbyist. The Daniels administration has gotten the picture, banning its employees from lobbying former coworkers for a year after entering the private sector. Sadly, the General Assembly has dug in its heels.

There is growing recognition within the legislature of public disdain for influence peddling. Various bills were introduced in the 2008 session seeking to force cooling-off periods for legislators-turned-lobbyists or to lift the secrecy surrounding gifts from lobbyists. None gained much traction; and indeed, an anti-revolving door bill was met with righteous denunciation by a key senator who said his peers were angered by the insinuation they couldn't be trusted.

For more on this last item, see this ILB entry from Jan. 29th and its links.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 15, 2008 08:18 AM
Posted to Legislative Benefits