Monday, March 26, 2007

Time to Limit Campaign Funds to the Campaign Trail

Yesterday, the Buffalo News ran an editorial praising the ethics bill that has passed both the Senate and Assembly and is on its way to the Governor, calling it “a 10-foot fence that will push the purchased-access crowd to start buying a lot of 11-foot ladders.”

The editorial specifically focuses on the gift ban:
Gifts from lobbyists to public officials, beyond the traditional knickknacks of coffee mugs and commemorative pens, are banned. Officials can still chow down on a special interest’s dime at banquets and seminars, where their presence is both honorable and public, but not in the corner booth at the oyster bar, where quids and quos may be quietly exchanged. And the all-expense-paid weekend at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews? Right out.
But we agree that there remains a significant loophole that absolutely must be closed. As the BN puts it, donors can’t spring for gifts or travel “unless, of course, the lawmaker or other office holder flies to Scotland at the expense of his or her own campaign fund, to which the lobbyists and their patrons have generously, and legally, contributed. That’s one of those 11-foot ladders that will require more legislation to block.”

Now that we have the 10-foot fence, how about a little barbed wire? Let’s finally pass legislation to crack down on the use of campaign funds for activities off the campaign trail.

1 comment:

Just 6 Dollars said...

Something like this on the federal level would be a great start, but without better public financing candidates would still be open to influence from major donors.

Not every quid pro quo is spoken quietly in a back booth. some are understood from the moment the check is written.