More Gifts From Lobbyists for Florida’s Legislators!

Sen. Dennis Jones, a Seminole Republican and dean of the upper chamber, and Rep. Jimmy Patronis, a Republican restaurateur from Panama City, have teamed up to weaken the law that was once hailed as one of the toughest legislative gift bans in the country. The reason, they argue, is that the complete ban on everything stifles trust and relationship-building in the Legislature and prevents lawmakers from mingling with voters.

And by voters, of course they mean lobbyists.  See, it’s right there in the rest of the article.

Since then, the gift ban has increasingly been seen as window dressing on the problem of lobbyist influence: Legislators may not take a trinket, drinks or dinner from special interests — but their political committees, known as 527s, may accept unlimited checks.

Why the St. Pete Times is downplaying the gift ban, I don’t know.  Why can’t they not accept coffee nor can they accept contributions from PACs?

Truly damning:

Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, a Tallahassee Democrat, believes the gift ban has had a negative effect on the Tallahassee economy. Small businesses in the capital cater to legislators during the two months they are in session and have been hurt by the drop in socializing, she said.

If lobbying has that big of an impact on the Tallahassee economy, Jesus Christ don’t come out and say it.  Think about how horrifying that is. For something so  obviously disreputable to drastically influence the local economy.  Who has the balls to even list that as a concern?

Gee, well if we stop producing E. Coli laden spinach, then doctor’s won’t make as much money from all the 5-year-olds who end up on dialysis because their tiny, youthful kidney’s exploded from all the bacteria.



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