One of the news media's biggest problems is failing to look at the
big picture and, instead, focusing on specific events and issues.
This is especially true when it comes to government ethics, where
the news media generally considers, and calls for, ethics reforms on
a piecemeal basis.
When gifts from lobbyists to government officials are discussed,
what they consist of is usually money (including campaign
contributions), meals, trips, and services. A pending Missouri House
bill (2059; attached, see below) seeks to extend the
definition of reportable "gift" from lobbyists in this context to
sexual relations between a registered lobbyist and a member of the
general assembly or his or her staff. Relations between married
persons or between persons...
A couple of weeks ago, in
a City and State column, veteran NYC reporter Wayne Barrett
hit the nail on the head regarding the responsibility for failures
to deal responsibly with conflicts of interest, specifically with
respect to the conviction of former state assembly speaker Sheldon
Silver, a Democrat:
Local governments that lack a lobbying oversight program do not have to merely throw up their hands when a huge procurement matter arises. They have the choice to set rules for that matter which, if it works, may later be applied more generally.
This is the lesson that comes from the York, Ontario region which, according to a recent...
When it comes to lobbying disclosure, local government agencies
should lead the way. According to an
article in the San Diego Reader, this is not the case
with the San Diego Airport Authority, whose lobbying firm did not
disclose any of the lobbying it did for the Authority in the first half of 2015.
According to the article, this summer the Authority...
"At the end of the day, anybody could fall into a trap like I
— Former New York state senator Thomas W. Libous, after being
sentenced to a $50,000 fine and probation for lying about the fact
that he helped get his son a job with a local law firm and then
arranged for a $50,000 payment to the law firm by a lobbying firm
that represented clients with matters before him. It is rare for
indirect pay to play to be prosecuted. It happened only because the
senator lied about...