Democratic Leader Endorses Ethics Reforms

Merkleyrocky_2Over at the Oregon House Democrats' blog yesterday, Rep. Jeff Merkley - the Democratic Leader - endorsed a series of ethics reforms.

Most notably, he wants to raise the fine for violations to $5000 (from $1000) and require legislators to pay those fines personally (not from campaign funds.) Also, Merkley wants to ban gifts over $100 that rise above a de minimis value (promotional trinkets like shirts and keychains)* - and prohibit lobbyists from paying for meals for legislators.

“Really, there is no need for a legislator to be offered these gifts,” Rep. Merkley said. “It serves no purpose I can think of, and we would establish a better bond with the public if we would just ban gifts altogether.”

Addressing the issue of meals paid for by lobbyists, Rep. Merkley continued, “There is no reason these conversations can’t take place at a table in a conference room without food, just as well as a table in a restaurant with food.”

Discuss at the House Dems blog.

[* Editor's note: We misunderstood his gift ban proposal. The $100 gift limit is current law. Merkley's proposal goes further to ban all gifts, other than the kinds of promotional junk folks get from community groups.]


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