Besides: If gifts don’t influence lawmakers, then why do lobbyists lavish so many on them?
In the case of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, a newspaper report indicates it has plied powerful legislators with choice luxury-suite tickets to events — particularly members of a joint House-Senate legislative committee that oversees the authority.
And just in time for them to consider whether to approve a debt-limit increase for the authority in order to build a proposed new $1 billion retractable-roof football stadium for the Atlanta Falcons.
As if Atlanta needs more help siphoning sporting and entertainment events from elsewhere around the state.
And as if the 20-year-old Georgia Dome were in desperate need of replacement.
As for the legislators on the oversight committee, The Atlanta newspaper reports:
“The panel’s current members have received more than $9,000 worth of gifts since 2010, when key legislation was passed that set the stage for the proposed stadium. Some said they were concerned about accepting gifts as negotiations over a new stadium heated up. Others were unapologetic.”
Nah, gifts don’t influence lawmakers. But by all means, keep ‘em coming! Legislative gifts only erode public confidence in the legislative process and raise cynicism about politics.
Lawmakers would give themselves and their constituents a gift if they would either ban their superfluous perks or have the gumption to decline them.
In many ways, that’s the difference between public service and a ruling class.