Saturday, January 22, 2005

Raising the Ceiling...

The article excerpted below was forwarded to us by C.B. Forgotston, who is a particularly vigilant and insightful observer of the Louisiana legislature. In an e-mail alert sent out recently, "Shakedown limits need to be raised," he introduces the article as illustrating "what has to be one of the most outrageous examples of how out of touch with reality are our leges."

"The leges want to raise the limits on how much they can be given by lobbyists and other people doing business with them. Remember there are no limits on gifts from anyone UNLESS THEY HAVE AN INTEREST BEFORE THE LEGES."

From the (Baton Rouge) Advocate, January 20, 2005, "Legislators want ceiling raised on gifts to them," by MARSHA SHULER.

"Inflation is interfering with legislators and other elected officials treated to sporting events by lobbyists, the chief of a House ethics panel complained Wednesday. State law allows lobbyists to buy tickets for elected officials to attend sporting or cultural events -- up to $100 per occasion.That limit, set 12 years ago, is too low, said Rep. Charles Lancaster, chairman of the House and Governmental Affairs Committee. Lancaster said the $100 maximum prevents him from attending LSU and Saints football games or Hornets basketball games as a guest of lobbyists because better seats cost more than that.

Ethics laws generally prohibit elected officials from taking gifts from people they deal with, such as lobbyists who seek to pass or kill proposed laws for special interests. The allowance for tickets is a limited exception to that law. Last year, the Louisiana Board of Ethics recommended ending the exception. But that proposal to stop the free-ticket perks went nowhere in the Legislature."

Let us know if you think the leges are being asked to endure unfair hardship. Thanks for the "heads-up" CB.


jbv's Competitive Edge 


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