Thursday, August 2, 2007

"It's Hard Enough to Get People to Run"

I wonder why the Georgia GOP allows Glenn Richardson to keep speaking for himself. Isn't he important enough yet to have a "spokesperson?" Today, Savannah Now reports that the Speaker says he sees no need for restrictions on lobbyist's perks to legislators. He thinks that there are enough rules, after all, the expenditures have to be reported, and we know that the average Georgian (struggling to pay their house note and occasionally splurging on a meal out at Chilli's) spends tons and tons of time searching the State Ethics Commission website to track the "almost a million" dollars lobbyists spent on Georgia legislators in the during this year's session. The truth is, the average Georgia can't imagine dropping a hundred dollars on one meal out.

Richardson has a perfectly logical reason for keeping the lobbyist perks. He says that it's already hard enough to get people to run for office. I guess if we take away the dinners out and the sports tickets, elected officials would be reduced to working for us lowly taxpayers, and that just won't do. I've said this before, and I will say it again here: we need to raise what we pay legislators, and cut out the lobbyist spending. You work for the person to signs your check. Period.


Open+Transparent said...

Amy, that's a fine post. But will just one elected GA Dem stand up to Glenn and call him out for being full of sh$%?

Dem's under Tom Murphy didn't exactly have a good record when it came to legislative ethics and coziness with lobbyists. This is a no-brainer for today's GA Dem's to make a stand and loudly and proudly say: We are the party of ethics and transparency under the Dome. We support tough ethics legislation. We support public transparency in everything the state gov't does.

Even if it means that some elected GA Dem's will get in big trouble from it (i.e Charles Walker).

Big props to you Amy for rightfully calling out the out of control lobbyist spending these days at the Dome.

But where are the elected GA Dem's? If you don't stand for something, you stand for nothing.
Too many people I know feel like me, just wondering why GA Dem's have no intestinal fortitude.

Amy Morton said...

I agree with you on this one and have talked with a number of elected officials and party leaders about the idea that a voters believe lobbyists have too much sway under the Gold Dome, and that if people realized that much legislation is actually written by lobbyist, they would be shocked, and not in a good way. I also think Hillary lost the exchange on lobbyists at Yearly Kos.

Amy Morton said...

By the way, I think that we, voters, need to step up and advocate for the public to pay legislators a salary that would open the opportunity to serve to more Georgians. I have proposed a salary equal to what we pay a first year teacher-that way maybe a few educators could afford to serve. And, the deal would be we pay more and lobbyists spending goes away.

Open+Transparent said...

If you count the per diem, isn't it like $40 grand per or more?

Then of course if you're Jerry Keen, you have lobbyists buy you every single meal for three months for your wife and yourself, including multiple $400 dinners.