Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tilley proposal to ban lobbyists' gifts already running into opposition

It didn't take long for the defenders of the status quo in Jefferson City to begin launching attacks on a proposal offered Tuesday by House Majority Leader Steve Tilley, R-Perryville, to eliminate all gifts for lobbyists.

The Springfield News-Leader's Chad Livengood tracked down legislators who want to keep things just the way they are:

Lobbyists routinely buy catered meals for lawmakers who meet during the lunch hour in committees.

"We're going to lose a large part of our working day by not being able to work through lunch when we break from noon to 2," said Rep. Jim Viebrock, R-Republic.

Some committees also get fed breakfast by lobbyists and special interest groups during early committee meetings.

Viebrock said he attends dinners with lobbyists and other lawmakers outside of the Capitol to get educated on issues.

"I don't see anything wrong about going to a meal and getting some one-on-one attention to learn about an issue," Viebrock said.

I don't see anything wrong with it either, Rep. Viebrock, but how much of a problem would it be for you to buy your own meals during those sessions?


It should be noted that the News-Leader article featured a list of southwest Missouri legislators and the amount of gifts they have received from lobbyists. What it does not include, because there is no way to include it, is the dollar amount of meals bought for them during those committee meetings. Those expenses are listed for the committees and not for the individual legislators.

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