Here are some real-life stories on how the new ethic rules have become a laughing stock with all sorts of unintended consequences. The new Big-Brother-National-Enquirer-on-cheap-crack atmosphere prevents mentioning the names of the lawmakers involved.
– A lawmaker hires an intern. The intern’s mom is so happy that she gives a homemade gift to the intern’s co-worker in the same office. The incidence automatically gets highlighted as a possible example of unethical lobby influence, despite the fact that the mom is in not lobbying. Is gifts exchanged between co-workers the new corruption? The next time your legislative co-worker asks to borrow a cough drop — don’t do it, it may be a set-up!
– Another lawmaker turns down a lunch meeting with a lobbyist because of the new ethic restrictions. The lobbyist says he can pay for the lunch by making a donation to the lawmaker’s campaign fund (PAC). The lobbyist says this is how some Democrats are getting around the law. The lawmaker complains that such actions only amount to a worse violation of what the ethic rules intended to protect.
– A lawmaker calls the Democratic leadership to cancel a lunch meeting due to a schedule conflict with another lunch meeting. The staff begins demanding which lunch, and begins demanding that the lawmaker prove that the meeting is legal. The lawmaker resents being assumed guilty first and verify later for a meeting that is open to the entire public with no special benefit to any lawmaker.
– During the first week of the lobby rules, one lawmaker began canceling any public event out of fear that somewhere a dollar might have been spent to the lawmaker’s benefit that was not extended to someone else in the audience.
This is what happens when politicians pass symbolic laws without care for their effect.