Sunday, February 5, 2006

Golf Trips With Strippers?

Remember this? Somewhere in the history of lobbying in the State of Georgia, someone thought that it was a good idea to offer to take legislators on a golf outing with strippers. And more than one legislator took them up on the offer. While there is no word of this particular type of entertainment on tap this year, we do know that in 2005, lobbyists spent more than a million dollars wining and dining your public servants. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2/2/2006) All fifteen of the top "getters" were Republicans this year, and Macon's own David Graves is at the top of the list of recipients at gifts totaling $8,787.00. Graves explains that as chair of the Regulated Industries Committee he was often invited to speak, and that the lobby covered his expenses. Given Graves' convictions for DUI last year, I am not so sure he is wise to raise that defense.

In all seriousness, is this what we want? This is out of control with the current leadership but not a new problem. I remember when I was much, much younger, and much, much more naive, going to Atlanta during session to beg for money for a small non-profit child advocacy center. I walked into one senator's office and saw a bag of peanuts on one corner of the desk and a jar of peach jelly on the other corner. I told him that I supposed I should've brought him a child. We must remove the temptation that comes with the gifts. We must enact legislation, as Florida has, that makes these gifts illegal. Your thoughts?

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