Friday, April 05, 2013

Tully's Suggestions For Cleaning Up The State House

Star political columnist Matt Tully seems to be wrapping up his series of columns on the bad state of affairs at the State House between lawmakers' conflicts of interest and influence peddling by special interest groups. He has some ideas which are worthy of consideration.

More disclosure tops the list. He suggests requiring more disclosure on members' statement of financial interest forms, which are pretty much useless as they stand. He wants every source of income reported and, if they have consulting firms, he thinks they should disclose all of their clients. He would like to see the Senate post the disclosure forms online as the House already does. City-County Councilor Brian Mahern recently proposed an ordinance to require more reporting by city council members, which seems to have been put on the face track to nowhere. I can't say that I'm surprised.

Tully would also require lobbyists to disclose their expenditures on behalf of lawmakers, such as meals, within days rather than after the session has concluded, along with a lower threshold for reporting. He would also consider barring lobbyists from making gifts like tickets to sporting and other events altogether, an idea whose time arrived long ago. Perhaps if the politicians have to pay to attend sporting events like the rest of us they won't be so anxious to force taxpayers to subsidize billionaire sports team owners.

An independent agency to oversee lobbyist reporting is another idea. Indiana used to delegate the responsibility for policing lobbyists to the Secretary of State. When lobbyists complained that the office was requiring more of them than they wanted, the legislature created a commission known as the Indiana Lobby Registration Commission controlled by its appointees who establish all the rules and guidelines for policing the profession. I call it the Indiana Lobby Protection Commission because that name is more descriptive of its mission.

Finally, Tully thinks the legislature needs to hire more professional staff to advise it so they don't have to rely so much on lobbyists for information. As a former legislative staffer, I can appreciate that need. More staff isn't the solution unless they are subject to similar restrictions as lawmakers. Believe me, staff can just as easily be influenced by lobbyists as lawmakers. Nowhere is that more clear than what you see happening in Washington where there is continuous revolving door between staff members on Capitol Hill and the K Street lobbying firms.


rohshack147 said...

Great Ceasers Ghost! Tully for once had a idea that wasnt assinine! I only wish he would have actually gone after the corruption of the Daniels years! But that would require him to grow a pair or to have a pair to begin with! I swear is anybody out their ever gonna bring the hammer down on the corruption in this State! If their was anybody with any sense in the FBI or US Attorneys offices they would be all over the IURC, DWD, FSSA, and DCS. How much longer must the hoosier state allow itself to be a corrupt backwater hellhole rather than the great state it used to and should be! Wake Up Citizens! Let's take back our State!

Marycatherine Barton said...

I wish horse237 wasn't right,

"April Fool. Your Government is a Joke."

Marycatherine Barton said...

Oh, this April Fool report is posted at The Daily Sheeple.