Sunday, January 25, 2009

Another Lawmaker Becomes A Lobbyist

The Indiana General Assembly is rapidly becoming nothing more than a breeding ground for lobbyists. Former Sen. Bob Meeks (R-LaGrange), until last year the Senate Republicans' point person on the budget, has registered to lobby for Boyle & Associates according to the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette. Meeks announced last May that he would not be running for re-election, citing serious health problems. "According to his lobby registration form, topics he might be lobbying on include alcoholic beverages, budget, licensure, economic development, education, energy, property tax, regulation, taxation and telecommunications," the Journal Gazette reports.

Efforts in recent years to impose a time out period on ex-legislators before they can become lobbyists have been thwarted by the legislature. The same thing is happening this year with Sen. Mike Delph's proposed lobbying reforms. "Apparently, Indiana lawmakers aren't getting the message about sleazy politics in Illinois that will bring down that state's governor," Star editor Dennis Ryerson laments in his column today. The only thing the public can conclude is that at any given point at least one lawmaker is auctioning off his services to the lobbying community and the leadership of the General Assembly thinks that's just fine. There are now more than 30 former lawmakers who are registered to lobby the General Assembly.

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