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Political Gift Limitations Proposed

Posted on Wednesday, May 4, 2011 5:40am

A Senate Committee has approved a bill that cracks down on gifts to politicians.

Meanwhile, the same Senate committee also approved another bill – this one, to set up a “Do Not Robocall” list for voters who don’t want to receive automated telephone calls from candidates or campaigns.

Gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers are already sharply limited – but gifts from employers of lobbyists aren’t.  This bill, from Republican Senator Sam Blakeslee, would tighten those strings – and also bans some specific gifts, like tickets to sporting events and theme parks.

Blakeslee says, “there’s, I think, general public distaste, and there’s a belief that our salaries are sufficient – especially with per diem – to handle many of the incidentals that go along with our job.”

But one Senator wondered how to ensure that legislators could still attend high school theater shows and football games without running afoul of the law.  And another said voters can judge for themselves what gifts are acceptable – and vote lawmakers who abuse the perks out of office.  Still, the bill passed 4-to-0, with one abstention.

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