posted on May 18, 2006 17:38
Members of the North Carolina House of Representatives – both Democrats and Republicans – showed this week that they just don’t get it.
They have no idea how little confidence the public has in them now.
The representatives passed a new ethics law, but did everything they could to protect themselves against any real change in how they do business.
According to Dan Kane of The News & Observer:
“House members voted for the revised law 114-3. But that was only after spending most of a three-hour debate watering down the bill and trying to make sure they would not be falsely accused of ethics violations.”
(They should worry instead about being accurately accused of watering down ethics regulations.)
Worse, Kane reported:
“The House bill would allow legislators to continue policing their own ethics.”
(That will give people confidence!)
The members also prescribed less stringent rules for themselves than for executive branch employees.
“In the executive branch bill, gifts worth more than $200 from non-family members, or more than $100 from anyone who does business with the state, would have to be reported. The amended bill for lawmakers would raise that to gifts of more than $1,000 and more than $500, respectively.”
(It must cost more to buy friends in the legislative branch.)
Fortunately for the Democrats, Republicans also voted for the weaker restrictions. Otherwise, we could count on losing our majority this fall.
But any incumbent who has real opposition in November may have dug themselves a deep hole. If I were their opponent, this would be my issue.
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