Ethics Laws: Legislature Makes’m & Governor Breaks’m

Both House and Senate on Monday passed very tight new ethics laws barring certain lobby gifts. While this is going on the governor is hosting a Political Action Committee fundraiser in Bend on Wednesday. Holding PAC campaign fundraisers while the Legislature is in Session used to be illegal, then it became lawful but discouraged. Now the governor is brazenly crossing the line.

Even worse, the governor is tying the PAC fundraiser directly to his inaugural celebrations. One Republican lawmaker lamented that he wanted to attend the governor’s inauguration celebration as a show of his bipartisan support, but can’t do so without surrendering money to a political cause that opposes him. Kulongoski’s is using a historic governor tradition as a weapon for his political campaigning.

In 2005, when a Republican senator tried to hold a PAC fundraiser during session he was beat back by the cries of the Senate Democrats and the media. Where are those cries now?

  • Jerry

    There are no cries now because the Dems play dirty – they always have and they always will. The Repubs must do the same – there is no higher ground in politics any longer.

  • Are our Representatives and Senators so easily bought with gifts? Frankly, it seems contradictory to have ethics reform regarding gifts when the life or death of a bill has been pre-determined by a hyperpartisan leadership. When the democrats won election this past November, we conservatives knew exactly what was in store for the future of our state. Regardless of the limit on gifts, we’ll have the same bills pass as before and the same contributions to candidate committees as determined by the lobbyist.

  • Happypacy

    To listen to the Governor speak at his State of the State address, you’d have thought he’d had a spiritual epiphany. Personally, it makes my skin crawl, and blood boil, when I hear politicians, like him, speak like Southern preachers only to find that behind the scenes they were acting like a bunch of riverboat gamblers.

    Now as to the lobbying issue, I believe one of the greatest “ethical” challenges we face in politics today is not with lobbying but the dishonesty of the union lobby. The Supreme Court most correctly stated that the money we spend is our “voice” when it comes to politics. When the lone voter chooses to place his $ with a lobby group to speak with the power of numbers, his voice is being heard. More power to the lobbyist who does his job in speaking for the people he is representing! But, when the union lobbyists use union member’s dues on political causes and candidates without their explicit consent, the employees’ right to freely choose where their “voice” is heard has been stolen. That should not be merely an ethical violation…that should be a crime against democracy. If the D’s really want to get serious about ethics in lobbying, that would be a good place to start.