Candidates for GAGOP Chairman on ethics reform bill

27
Mar

Candidates for GAGOP Chairman on ethics reform bill

Georgia Tea Party Patriots asked the four announced candidates for a statement about the section of the Speaker’s Ethics Bill that defines who is required to register as a lobbyist. Since BJ VanGundy has would up with the short end of the stick alphabetically all his life, we’re presenting them in reverse alphabetical order.

B.J. VANGUNDY

Last summer nearly one million Republican voters answered the question “Do you support ending the current practice of unlimited gifts from lobbyists to state legislators by imposing a $100 cap on such gifts?” with the overwhelming support of 87% voting YES.

I support that part of the ethics legislation as well.

I believe, however, that forcing grassroots activists to register as lobbyists is beyond the scope of what ethics reform under the Gold Dome should entail. It is my hope that this provision is removed so that the legislature can move forward with passing ethics reform that doesn’t squelch the voices of concerned citizens that are spending their own time and money to voice their opinions on legislation. They do this not for personal gain but because they are patriots that care about their State and their Country.

The GOP (Great Opportunity Party) needs to be about encouraging citizens to take an active role in their government and to exercise their God-given Constitutional rights. Not discouraging them with red tape. My hope is that the conference committee sees their way clear and removes the registration provision in order to show the citizens of Georgia that their opinions and views are valued and welcome.

JOHN PADGETT

I have worked in the grassroots of the Republican Party for over 35 years. Joining countless other dedicated conservatives, we have labored to see our Party grow from a minority to a majority in this great state. The Georgia Republican Party has consistently stood for transparency, honesty, integrity, and the highest levels of moral and ethical standards in government.

The grassroots members of the Georgia Republican Party have been crystal clear in their strong support for real ethics reform. We have also been crystal clear that we do not support additional barriers to citizens engaging their government officials. We support making it easier for citizens to be involved in the governing process, not harder.

Any effort that stalls real ethics reforms or places obstacles in the way of citizens being involved in the governing process is just plain wrong.

I appreciate the work the General Assembly has done so far but the grassroots of our Party and all the citizens of our great state are speaking clearly and in a unified voice. Quit the games and get the job done.

ALEX JOHNSON

This was predictable from the start. In fact, even though it was published later, I wrote about and predicted this course of events in January after the first version of ethics reform was proposed (http://cumminghome.com/ opinion-free-speech-in- georgia-destroyed-by-6-people/).

It was and is clear what a small number of people in the legislature are doing. Propose an unpalatable ethics bill. Have it amended and argued so it’s still unpalatable. Get down to the very final deadline and offer two choices: vote for a bad bill that hurts grassroots activists and every citizen of the state, or vote against it and thereby look like people don’t care about ethics reform. Either way, ethics and involved citizens of Georgia lose.

Wealthy lobbyists and donors win. And for the legislators who don’t know: a “lobbyist” is someone who is paid to influence legislation, not unpaid citizens. Responding to requests by unpaid citizens regarding legislation is called being “accountable to the people”.

Let’s hope wisdom prevails and a 3rd option emerges. But either way, people need to be in charge that aren’t going to play these games. Georgians don’t want legislators to be influenced by monetary gifts and dinners by paid representatives of private organizations. Georgians don’t want to be restricted from communicating with their elected representatives either. Georgians want good, ethical, and responsive representation. Georgians deserve better.

SETH HARP

I am supportive of the efforts of the Atlanta Tea Party, Georgia Conservatives in Action, and the other true grassroots organizations who are promoting the need for transparency and integrity in the Georgia state government.

The idea that citizen groups are to be treated as lobbyist is patently unconstitutional. I think the idea of these types of restrictions is intended to kill the bill and thus sink the entire reform movement.

It is simply unconscionable to me that any individual citizen would be forced to register with the state to exercise their Constitutional rights to free speech and freedom of assembly to petition their government which their tax dollars fund in the first place.

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