by Max Brantley
A former political candidate has a couple of more ideas to kick around if the legislature actually does get serious about ethics legislation (which I'll believe when I see.)
1) Can something be done about lobbyist or lobbyist-represented interests' contributions to nonprofits to which officeholders have lucrative ties? To name one example: Sen. and soon-to-be Rep. Tracy Steele makes a healthy salary from a foundation he established that has sought contributions from people with interests before the legislature. (His pay is the foundation's single largest expenditure according to most recent reports.) Can that be regulated in any way or can greater disclosure be required?
2) Could the law bar contributions from candidates' campaign treasuries to nonprofits, particularly churches, that are meant to influence votes of members and build support with church leaders?
There are probably some First Amendment questions in going after these practices, but by all means, add them to the discussion.