Friday, January 23, 2009

Senate Republican Leadership Blocking Lobbying Reforms

Sen. Mike Delph's efforts to bring greater transparency and accountability in lobbyist-legislator interactions is getting no respect from the Senate Republican leadership this year. A Star editorial hits the nail on the head:

The Senate leadership's disinterest (and it's not any better in the House) in closing the huge loopholes in existing regulations is disappointing. The close ties binding lobbyists to lawmakers have fueled public cynicism toward the General Assembly, a fact that should alarm lawmakers. Instead, they fight to guard the status quo.

The reforms pushed by Delph and [Pat] Miller are moderate and practical. They would promote better transparency in the legislative process and erect reasonable safeguards against corruption.

Opponents, confined to the ranks of lobbyists and lawmakers, have failed to mount any persuasive arguments against the proposals. If the bills die, as it appears they will, it will be only because legislators want to keep the stream of gifts, meals and job offers flowing. That may be in lawmakers' best interests, but it's not in the public's.

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