North Dakota Makes It Tricky To Buy Politicians!
The Bismarck Tribune is reporting that a constitutional ban on lobbyist gifts is being enacted into law at the same time our freshman legislators are first getting sworn in...
Poor kids never even had a chance to "get their beak wet"!
(a Godfather II reference if anyone's curious)
If I was a North Dakota State Legislator I'd be wondering why I even ran for this lousy job!
People working in all different kinds of different fields often earn average wages, but stick around because the job has "great perks". Imagine if your boss just took away the best perks at your job? You might just up and quit! Elected officials really can't because of their loyalty to their faithful constituents.
But dag-nabbit, what about their faithful lobbyists?
From the Tribune article, it appears the lobbyists are being sent back to sit in the "lobby".
Trinkets as nominal as cups and stress balls are prohibited. Gifting violations carry civil penalties that could be up to $1,000 for gifts worth less than $500, and twice the value of gifts worth $500 or more.
"The constitution basically says there's no gifts allowed between lobbyists and public officials, so the starting line is zero, and a gift being anything of value," Ethics Commission Executive Director Dave Thiele said.
In the past, things were so darn wordy- Just check out the Century Code before the Ethics Committee butted in...
54-05.1-06. Unlawful means to influence legislative assembly. In addition to the violation of any other provision of this chapter, it is unlawful for any lobbyist or for any other person:
1. To directly or indirectly give or agree to give any money, property, or valuable thing, or any security therefor, to any person for that person's service or the service of any other person in procuring the passage or defeat of any measure before the legislative assembly or either house thereof, or before any committee thereof, upon the contingency or condition that any measure will be passed or defeated.
2. To directly or indirectly receive or agree to receive any such money, property, thing of value, or security for such service, upon any such contingency or condition, as set forth in the preceding subsection.
See, it already said it was wrong to give and receive.
I know it's true that your idea of a "thing of value" may be different from mine. So it was wise to appoint an Ethics Committee to set the parameters- check the newly official Revised Draft For Gift Rules by clicking here.
Lobbyists might have to look around for a job that pays a little differently.