February 20, 2013

Maine bill targets 'revolving door' between legislating, lobbying

By Michael Shepherd mshepherd@mainetoday.com
State House Bureau

(Continued from page 1)

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Days after he resigned from the Maine Senate in 2011, David Trahan began lobbying his former colleagues on behalf of the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine.

Gabe Souza / Staff Photographer

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Josh Tardy, a former Republican House minority leader, says a bill that seeks to end cozy relationships between legislators and firms that lobby them is "a solution that's looking for a problem." (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Crockett suggested in his testimony that the prospect of moving directly into lobbying could influence some lawmakers' positions on bills before they leave office.

"As the old saying goes, the look of impropriety is considered impropriety itself," Crockett said.

Tardy and Trahan took issue with that characterization.

"What you're assuming there is there's a quid pro quo between legislators," Trahan said. "Being effective doesn't necessarily mean you have some dishonest activity that's going on."

Tardy said he regards his legislative service as the best job he ever had -- even though it entailed long hours with relatively little compensation.

"I don't think people run for the Legislature to set themselves up for a career after the Legislature; I think they run for the Legislature because they're interested in public service," he said.

Crockett's proposal comes two years after the Legislature rejected a more sweeping ethics bill, which included a one-year waiting period before lawmakers could go into lobbying.

Republicans, who then controlled the Legislature, defeated the proposal on party-line votes in the Senate and House.

Crockett said Wednesday that he opposed that bill because it was too broad, but he supported the waiting-period provision.

Michael Shepherd can be contacted at 370-7652 or at:

mshepherd@mainetoday.com

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Today's poll: Lobbying rule

Should lawmakers have a one-year waiting period before becoming a lobbyist?

Yes

No

View Results