Friday, September 29, 2006

Fine the Influence-Peddled Democrats, Too

Hey, no favorites--give Ryan Deckert the same punishment I expect to see Scott, Kitts and Nelson to get if the published allegations about unreported lobbyist gifts are correct. At least Deckert was apologetic, and didn't make up some dumbass story like Scott did. But he knew the gig. And frankly, as Deckert indicates, I'm not sure the beer and wine distributors were really looking to put the squeeze on Deckert. What could he offer them, necessarily? Wayne Scott is a different matter altogether. Ways and Means Chair on a tax revenue issue? You bet your ass he was a key player.

It would be an extremely smart move for the Democratic caucus, electeds and hopefuls, to stand up right now and follow Mike Caudle's lead, which Sal Peralta immediately signed onto as well: a pledge to radically change the way lobbyists are able to conduct their business with politicians. It's a single issue yet broad-based, politicially timely way to unify the state party around a goal voters can use their votes to demand. Imagine a joint-controlled Democratic legislature that simultaneously introduces meaningful lobby reform on the first day of the 2007 session. Most triumphant, dude!