Dontcha find it a touch ex post facto for Speaker Busch to suddenly discover ethical concerns with this?:
Maryland House Speaker Michael E. Busch moved yesterday to ban lobbyist-sponsored receptions on legislative property after a St. Patrick’s Day party was thrown last week by two horse-racing interests in the office suite of the House committee that writes slot-machine legislation.
The sponsors, Ocean Downs Racetrack and the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, stand to benefit from the slots bill passed in 2007 as well as a bill pending this session that would increase the share of slots proceeds going to racing purses.
A flyer billed the “invitation only” event as “Chairman Sheila Hixson’s Annual St. Patrick’s Day Party,” and advertised: “Food! Friends!! Frivolity!!! Leprechauns & Libations!!!!” A lobbyist who helped organize the event, held in the Ways and Means Committee offices, said the cost was $4,683.
Although the two-hour evening reception does not appear to have violated legislative ethics laws, Busch (D-Anne Arundel) said he was concerned about how it appeared.
Now, here’s what I love about the concept of this reception bought and paid for by lobbyists in a state government office buildings. The same crew of Democratic legislators who seem to think that this kind of whining and dining on property owned by the taxpayers is completely on the up and up are the exact same legislators who believe that we need to provide for public financing of all elections because they are worried about the influence of money in politics.
No sir, no double-standard there….
While I think the likelihood that face time and a buffet on state property during state time is not going to greatly persuade legislators one way or another, the appearance of such impropriety far exceeds the appearance of impropriety when it comes to campaign contributions and campaign donations, and certainly has nothing on the other various and sundry forms of Democratic Corruption that plague our state. The General Assembly can’t have it both ways and allow themselves to be whined and dined ad naseum while restricting the ability of candidates (particularly, of course, challengers) to raise money from similar sources. This double standard does not pass the smell test.