The most frequent complaint about IM-22 I hear is the limitation on gifts, so let’s subject that to light-of-day testing.
The new law reads, “No lobbyist or employer of a lobbyist may make gifts to one person who is an elected state officer, legislative official or staffperson, or executive department official or staffperson aggregating more than one hundred dollars in a calendar year, nor may a lobbyist or employer of a lobbyist act as an agent or intermediary in the making of any such gift, or to arrange for the making of any such gift by any other person. “
A limit is placed on gifting by lobbyists and their clients. That isn’t such a bad thing.
Google defines gift as “a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present.” It is given with no expectation of reciprocity. In contrast, a transaction is defined as “an instance of buying or selling something; a business deal.”
Ours is a part-time legislature. Therefore, legislators must be otherwise employed in order to pay normal living expenses.
Consider a hypothetical case of a legislator who is also a grocer. Customers come in to purchase groceries at competitive prices. Reciprocity occurs. No gift is given.
However, if our legislator’s spouse were hired by a lobbyist for a job they were not qualified for, we probably would have a violation.
Fortunately, IM-22 creates an ethics commission to consider these cases in order to protect legislators, lobbyist, and the public from any semblance of wrongdoing, which is exactly what we voted for last November.