House leaders ask lobbyists for 'tweaks' to ethics amendment. Who needs ethics reform? | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

House leaders ask lobbyists for 'tweaks' to ethics amendment. Who needs ethics reform?

Posted By on Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 4:18 PM

click to enlarge imgres.jpg
Here we go.

A memo from Laura Hawkins of the Arkansas Society of Professional Lobbyists:

ASPL has been asked by the House leadership to comment as a group on challenges/clarification issues Society members see in regard to the ethics legislation/Amendment 3. Please email me any suggestions or tweaks that you think needs to be addressed in regard to the ethics legislation. Please think about it and send me an email in the next few days so we can respond in a timely manner.

We are asking for volunteers to serve on a subcommittee to develop a formal position to send to them. Please email me if you would agree to serve on this subcommittee.

Thanks,
Laura

Got it? House "leadership" is asking "lobbyists" for "tweaks" on brand-new Amendment 94, which banned gifts by lobbyists and their employers to legislators and which gives an independent commission control of legislative pay and advisory power on expenses.

The legislature hasn't even passed the enabling legislation that the amendment provides for the Ethics Commission to take broader control over ethics matters. Already, the Ethics Commission — its pay and budget set by the legislature — took a hands-off approach to blatant flaunting of at least the spirt of campaign finance law by finding no foul in $400,000 worth of TV advertising to advance Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's candidacy. She starred in the ad. Merely educational, a unanimous and too-timid commission decided when it could have said, "This duck quacks."

Already, the lobby has run a truck through the no-gift rule, as I predicted it would do with a gift exception for scheduled events to which all members of a governmental body are invited.

The lobby is merely declaring breakfast, lunch, cocktail hour and dinner special events and slopping the legislative hogs at private events with the same enthusiasm as before.

Tweaks? Does that mean a return to lobbyist stacking and splitting of entertainment bills to evade gift limits? Does that mean giving a credit card number to a greedy legislator? Does it mean an exception for certain caucuses — like the tort reform caucus on the State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee?

Has House leadership asked Common Cause, or Regnat Populus, or the press or the huge majority that voted for a tough ethics amendment about the need for "tweaks"? I doubt it.

Legislators are on the cusp of a 67 percent pay increase, they continue to abuse per diem by drawing it for days they don't come to town, they continue to draw salary supplements in "expense" payments to their wives and now they want "tweaks" to get more favors from lobbyists? They also got an extension of term limits. I'm think maybe one term is enough.

Here's the worst part: A lot of them get Dome Syndrome. They think they deserve all this and more, lots more, for doing us the favor of being Little Rock bigshots.

Tags: , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Trump launches attack on 'SOBs' of the NFL

    Donald Trump led a rally for Alabama Senate candidate Luther Strange Friday night and the resulting news coverage (if not in our local newspaper) is giving great attention for his rant against the NFL, including but not limited to players who have made political statements by taking a knee during the National Anthem.
    • Sep 23, 2017
  • Driver killed in crash with Maumelle officer

    Maumelle police report the death early this morning of a motorist who crashed head-on with a Maumelle police officer. The officer and two passengers in the other vehicle were injured.
    • Sep 23, 2017
  • Walmart lawyer picked for U.S. attorney in western Arkansas

    Donald Trump has nominated Duane "Dak" Kees,  director of global ethics and compliance at Walmart Stores, to be U.S. attorney for the western district of Arkansas. It has been filled on an interim basis by a career lawyer in the office.
    • Sep 22, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Auditor Lea caught not telling the truth

    State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
    • Mar 4, 2016
  • Arkansas: Land of .......

    Welcome to Arkansas: Land of cowardly politicians, discriminatory laws, inhumane turkey drops and lots and lots of Trump voters.
    • Oct 8, 2016
  • Another Republican miracle-working governor

    Great piece in Washington Post on the budget crisis in Louisiana. Big tax cuts and corporate welfare will do that to a state, particularly to a state whose previous governor, Republican Bobby Jindal, refused to join the Obamacare-funded Medicaid expansion. There's a lesson there for Arkansas.
    • Mar 4, 2016

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Most Viewed

  • Trump launches attack on 'SOBs' of the NFL

    Donald Trump led a rally for Alabama Senate candidate Luther Strange Friday night and the resulting news coverage (if not in our local newspaper) is giving great attention for his rant against the NFL, including but not limited to players who have made political statements by taking a knee during the National Anthem.
  • Legislature itches for more control over 'independent' agencies

    Michael Wickline of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports this morning on growing tension over the legislature's effort to exert more control over the state's constitutionally independent agencies. The immediae target is the Game and Fish Commission, but it's a sprawling dispute over balance of powers.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation