Ethics reform won't go far if it counts on Gov. Mike Beebe, the lobbyists' friend, writes John Brummett in a blog post today. But Brummett thinks Republicans are serious about moving forward and thinks that might light a fire under some Democrats for a change. House Speaker Robert Moore explained to him that he was not nearly so dismissive of ethics legislation as a quote in the Democrat-Gazette the other day might have made it appear.
I've been assured by a key Democrat that ethics improvements are in the works. "But they won't be enough for the press, they never are, and the voters don't give a damn anyway," was how he put it. If you sense something less than unbridled enthusiasm, you'd be right.
I think my friend is wrong about voters, by the way. They might not care about specific pieces of ethics legislation. But they get it when public officials abuse their offices. They get it that the legislature is easily corruptable by relatively small payments. They'd react positively, I think and hope, to a good faith effort to make the system cleaner.