The Legislative Ethics Commission reports lobbyists spent $77,000 entertaining our lawmakers during the two months of the just concluded legislature. One party alone ran $15,000.
The "good government" crowd is wringing their hands; those who have the gold to make the rules say its "democracy in action." Indeed lobbyists are citizen-voters too and have every right to try to convince legislators to see things their way..including throwing "lavish" parties for them.
Richard Beliles, head of Common Cause of Kentucky, doesn't see it that way. AP quoted him that "the public is definitely not benefited by all those parties."
How did the public suffer? As is often the case, depends on your point of view. The Kentucky Beverage Association spent a mere $3500 on a party, but the legislature did away with a Prohibition period law against selling booze on election day. Maybe it was time; maybe the state's long bourbon tradition finally kicked it. Not the way I would have voted, but...
And the coal industry groups ( plus the competing oil and gas lobby (!!) jointly did a big event and, surprise, the legislature did nothing about ending mountain top removal. Not my position either...but given this state's long blinders-on view of coal, hardly surprising.
Maybe what Beliles and others such as Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, and social workers, and the mental health people, and the abolish-the-death-penalty crowd need to do is...throw their own party--by getting together, polling their meager funds and hold one big soiree where they, too, get "face time" with lawmakers.
Right now it is scattered "rallies" at the Capitol, appearances in the rotunda, and a few meetings in the corridors. No one really knows if these parties produce the desired lobbyists' results..but as long as these events are the "culture" of Frankfort...maybe Common Cause can rally the truly "good government" folks together for one, big "lavish" party of their own.
I'd drink to that.
I'm just sayin'...