Sunday, April 4, 2010

Albany lobbyists don't follow any rules

From the NY Times:

The sign just outside the door to the State Assembly chamber’s back hallway could not be clearer. “All lobbyists must use east entrance to chamber,” it reads, adding, “This is west side.”

But like many of the rules meant to create distance between lobbyists and legislators in Albany, it is frequently broken.

On most days when the Assembly is in session, lobbyists breeze right past the sign, usually with a knowing nod to the guard stationed at a desk on the other side of the doors.

Once inside, they are free to mingle and chat with Assembly members, who use the hall to shuttle between the chamber and the refreshment-stocked members-only lounge.

From the Daily News:

Shameless state legislators have given themselves the okay to take free food and booze at lobbyist-sponsored soirees - though the so-called ethics reform law says it's a no-no.

In the latest only-in-Albany outrage, the Legislature's inhouse ethics panel quietly decreed in February that lawmakers can eat, drink and make merry at "widely attended" lobbyist events.

Banning such fat cat-backed revelry was supposed to be the main point behind a 2007 ethics law that barred officials from taking gifts of more than "nominal value" - generally interpreted as anything more than a cup of coffee.

Still, brazen state lawmakers - who can't seem to pass a state budget on time despite a $9 billion budget gap - now get to pass their bar tabs onto someone else.


georgetheatheist said...

And Jesus went into the temple of God. and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves. - Matthew 21:12-13

Anonymous said...

You cannot stop anyone from accepting free booze.

The ethics law is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

It's funny, but there were ethics laws passed about this kind of thing going on between pharm reps and doctors. The cases of being bribed with freebies has drastically decreased, mainly because of the threat of fines and loss of licensure. So it can be done, it's a matter of enforcement.

Fed Up said...

"Albany lobbyists don't follow any rules"

Neither do the legislators!!!

Anonymous said...

Why don't people understand that the rules don't apply to these people?