This is the second of four blog posts on Florida
Senate Bill 606
(attached; see below), one of the worst ethics
reform bills I have ever read (click here to read the first post
which focused on a provision that provides an additional penalty on
complainants in order to reduce the number of ethics complaints).
Gift Reporting vs. Gift Banning
The central provision of the bill would end gift reporting for state
and local officials. I too am opposed to gift reporting. Government
officials should not be accepting gifts from restricted sources, at
least beyond a very low limit, such as $50 a year, to cover basic
refreshments. To have them report gifts sends the message that
they're okay, and that the only issue is how much one's constituents
will notice or care enough to vote gift receivers out of office.
The problem with gift reporting in Florida is that no
distinction is made between gifts from restricted sources and gifts
from others (except for relatives). Every birthday present from a
friend has to be reported. This is ridiculous.
The problem with simply getting rid of gift reporting is that, when
one does, gifts from restricted sources remain legal and, to make it even worse, there is no