Can you imagine the following?
Joe Lobbyist: “Good morning, Senator. Thanks for seeing me.”
RepubDem Senator: “Good morning. What can I do for you?”
Joe Lobbyist: “As you know Senator I am with the Association of XYZ, and our members have a particular interest in the passage of Senate Bill No. 3233, which provides for increased subsidies to our members.”
RepubDem Senator: “I’m familiar with the Bill. I’ve scheduled you for twenty minutes, so why don’t you tell me why you think I should vote for this Bill.”
Joe Lobbyist: “It might take longer than that, Senator, and that’s why I would like to invite you to spend a weekend in Aruba with me and some of our members. Of course, airfare, hotel, meals and a round of golf or two are all included. It will give you an opportunity to learn more about the Association of XYZ and how passage of this bill would be good for our members and good for America. Oh, and you can bring your wife too.”
RepubDem Senator: “No thanks. I don’t accept trips. Why don’t you just tell me what’s on your mind.”
Joe Lobbyist: “OK. I understand that your schedule might be a little tight. How about you join us in our box on Sunday for the Redskins game? Afterward, we can do dinner, and we can talk.”
RepubDem Senator: “No thanks. Please get to your point.”
Joe Lobbyist: “Lunch? At my club? We can talk then.”
RepubDem Senator: “No thanks. I don’t accept gifts of any kind from lobbyists. I believe you have about ten minutes left.”
Joe Lobbyist: “Senator, it is a complicated issue, and I think the Aruba thing would give us plenty of time to fairly present all the issues to you in a more relaxed stetting.”
RepubDem Senator: “I believe I’ve heard enough. Good day, sir.”
Is it really too much to expect lawmakers to simply say “No” when people with an interest in legislation offer them things of value?
Isn’t it a damned shame that we can only imagine ethical behavior from our legislators, when we have every right to expect it?
It’s about time that we demand it from all of them. [/soapbox]