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.