Patterico's Pontifications

11/25/2007

Louisiana Governor-elect seeks Ethics Reform

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 8:17 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

Governor-elect Bobby Jindal’s first goal when he takes office is to overhaul Louisiana’s ethics laws and improve transparency in government:

“By promising an overhaul of Louisiana’s ethics laws as his first act as governor, Bobby Jindal is joining a recent national trend that experts attribute to public revulsion at political scandals and a declining overall trust in government.

From Alaska to Ohio and points in between, states have been revising their ethics laws in recent years to improve transparency and put new restrictions on interactions between legislators and lobbyists.”

Forty-seven states have strengthened their ethics laws in the past 2 years in response to scandals like the ones surrounding Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff:

“Peggy Kerns, director of the Center for Ethics in Government, traces the recent uptick in ethics-related legislation to public disgust with the Jack Abramoff scandal in Washington. Abramoff, a high-flying Republican lobbyist, is currently serving a prison sentence after pleading guilty to multiple corruption charges.

“I think the big push definitely started with Abramoff at the national level,” Kerns said. “States do tend to pass ethics reforms when there are scandals, either at the national or at the state level.”

While recent ethics changes in Alaska and Ohio came about partly as a reaction to scandals in previous administrations, Jindal takes over a state government that has been relatively scandal-free in the past 12 years. Nevertheless, civic leaders say the state still suffers from the battering its image took during the Edwin Edwards years, and the guilt by association that occurs any time a New Orleans politician is brought down by legal problems.”

Kentucky’s Republican Governor Ernie Fletcher learned the hard way when he lost his re-election campaign that talking ethics talk isn’t good enough. You have to walk the walk, too. Jindal plans to do this by focusing on transparency and disclosure:

“So far, Jindal’s main focus has been on requiring greater financial disclosure from legislators, where Louisiana ranks 44th nationally, according to the Center for Public Integrity. But reaching the top of national lists compiled by good-government groups could mean changing the after-hours culture of meals and entertainment that lobbyists routinely provide for legislators during the annual spring sessions.

Although most states have laws restricting the gifts that legislators can receive from lobbyists, only four have so-called “no-cup-of-coffee” rules that limit virtually all gifts from those who seek to influence the legislative process.

Louisiana’s law makes an exception for meals and drinks, plus lobbyist-financed travel and tickets to sporting events and concerts. State law does require lobbyists to disclose what they spend to entertain legislators, though such disclosure is often spotty.”

Like Jindal, I think the best solution is transparency. If that doesn’t work, then the answer may be a “no-cup-of-coffee” rule for lobbyists and politicians. The IRS and similar government agencies already follow that rule so politicians can certainly manage. They may not think they can, but they can.

— DRJ

15 Responses to “Louisiana Governor-elect seeks Ethics Reform”

  1. Disclosure. Disclosure. Disclosure. It is the answer to legislative ethics. It is the answer to campaign finance issues. When in doubt, the public should be given the information freely and easily. And, these reports should have to be filled out by the lobbyists and the recipients, to make sure that they check out properly.

    JD (33beff)

  2. Abramoff, Abramoff

    Hasn’t Harry Reid still refused ro return his Abramoff related money because Harry is special?

    Haven’t the Dems reinserted some of the lobbyist perks they eliminated at the beginning of the year through late night voice votes? Lobbying Air Force anyone.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  3. daleyrocks – You will never see that reported, but, can you imagine the feigned outrage should the Republicans have done that?

    JD (33beff)

  4. “Louisiana Governor-elect seeks Ethics Reform”

    Joke right?

    Well not really, he will make sure that the “other side” gets phuked! He won’t do one daaumed thing to prevent $$ flowing to his own control, EVER…..

    I mean thee are Dems and repubs, and then there is LA politics, and they are all very different!

    TC (1cf350)

  5. In a story about Louisiana politics, they had to go to Alaska and Ohio to find Republican scandals to reference. Rep. William Jefferson would have been much closer to the story, but then he has a D after his name, rather than an R, so it wouldn’t be good to mention him.

    Mike S (d3f5fd)

  6. While recent ethics changes in Alaska and Ohio came about partly as a reaction to scandals in previous administrations, Jindal takes over a state government that has been relatively scandal-free in the past 12 years.

    Heh

    Lord Nazh (899dce)

  7. While recent ethics changes in Alaska and Ohio came about partly as a reaction to scandals in previous administrations, Jindal takes over a state government that has been relatively scandal-free in the past 12 years. Nevertheless, civic leaders say the state still suffers from the battering its image took during the Edwin Edwards years, and the guilt by association that occurs any time a New Orleans politician is brought down by legal problems.”

    Pure comedy gold. I was under the impression that corruption was the state sport in Louisiana. I wish Jindal luck.

    “Last year, as the 19th in size of our 56 field offices, the FBI in Louisiana was 10th in public corruption indictments with 24, and number 6 in public corruption convictions. Public corruption in Louisiana has been described to me as epidemic, endemic, and entrenched. No branch of government is exempt.”
    Lou Reigel, Special Agent in Charge, FBI
    New Orleans Crime Commission
    March 30, 2004

    daleyrocks (906622)

  8. Once all of the investigations into Bush and Katrina and what did he know and when did he know it are settled, it would be quite interesting to see if the Dems will turn their sights onto the local levee Boards, and how they spent their funding.

    JD (33beff)

  9. Louisiana politics state motto, like Chicago, is “If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t trying”.

    JD (33beff)

  10. Damn, I’m glad that the locals here in Louisiana, Dems and Repubs alike, are looking forward to the new administration…after reading you guys and gals, I”m really down in the dumps….

    reff (bff229)

  11. Reff,
    The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step…

    I live here as well and think Jindal might be that first important step. Shreveport broke the mold and elected Glover who seems to be similar in approach and not a hostage to old money in the state. Let’s hope it continues.

    Voice of Reason (10af7e)

  12. reff – We are just funnin’ with ya.

    JD (33beff)

  13. Jindal seems a bit nuts.

    Moops (444e9b)

  14. Yes, acting in an ethical manner would seem nuts to an attorney 😉

    JD (33beff)

  15. His ethics stance is fine. It’s his extreme positions on abortion and desire to teach ID in schools that are a bit crazy.

    Moops (444e9b)


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