In the November election, Georgians voted in a non-binding vote that our legislature establish rules that would rein in lobbyists giving gifts to legislators. This wasn’t simply a few voters; rather it was the majority of voters across the state.
The Georgia House of Representatives under the Speaker of the House Dennis Ralston passed a weak bill that disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff called a “lobbyist Disneyland.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently reported that the lobbying bill pushed by Ralston contained holes that allowed the biggest spenders in the lobbying business, those for the University System of Georgia, to still act with impunity.
Last year, according to the AJC’s report, university lobbyists spent $96,000 on lawmakers; under the Ralston ban, two-thirds of that amount could still be spent. In addition, football games are exempt; how fortunate.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Ralston is an example of the snake oil-selling type of politicians of old; he looks like one and he acts like one, and it’s unfortunate that some of that worthless oil he produces has spilled over into a bill that would and should have helped us gain back some respect for the lawmakers of the house. What’s new?