Indiana Seeks to Limit Legalized Graft and Payola to State Legislature by J.E. Ante

The State of Indiana seeks to improve its failing legislative ethics F grade to an A from the Center for Public Integrity. 23 major newspapers are behind an effort to limit legalized graft and payola to legislators from lobbyists to $50 per incidence per day. Currently lobbyists can provide $100 in gifts and payola to legislators without reporting these expenditures. So today in Indiana big business can legally bribe hundreds of Indiana legislators as many times as they need if it is kept under the $100 limit. So free sporting event tickets, free restaurant meals, travel expenses,and any gifts under $100 are all OK under current Indiana Laws and are not reported by lobbyists today.

This $100 gift limit is currently more than most people make in a days work. And since lobbyists outnumber legislators 5 to 1 why even bother paying legislators a salary at all. Why not just have the lobbyists pool their payola money and pay all of the legislators salaries in the form of payola and legalized graft. It must get very difficult cashing in all those $100 legalized graft gift payouts for legislators from big business interests.

The big winners in this new legislative reform bill if it passes will be the non-profit organizations in Indiana which lobby for the regular citizen’s viewpoints but can not afford to pay out any payola to legislators for their time. But big business will benefit the most when they are able to cut in half their legalized graft payments to legislators from the $100 limit to the new $50 limit per incidence. The non-profit groups who can not afford to buy access to legislators with payola might now be heard more often and big businesses can stretch their payola dollars to legislators twice as far.

The current Indiana payola system of a $100 limit on reportable legalized graft in Indiana is just not working well for the big businesses. The 23 newspapers proposing this limited graft reform bill are mostly owned and controlled by big businesses and so this reform movement is probably just a means by big business to limit their own lobbying payola expenses to legislators. These big businesses spend millions of dollars every year lobbying Indiana legislators to pass laws favorable to them.

My main concern about this new proposed Indiana ethic reformbill is that legislators who retire or are voted out of office must wait one year before they could start working as a lobbyist in Indiana. Would out of work legislators then be eligible for unemployment benefits for 6 months time? It seems unfair and a waste of taxpayer money to pay out of work legislator 6 month unemployment pay for just sitting around doing nothing. And their incomes will be non-existent for the remaining 6 months wait not to mention the 100% loss of their lobby payola income from lobbyists for an entire year. So I vote to drop this unfair and drastic provision from the proposed ethics reforms as much too harsh and unfair for legislators.

The current system of Indiana legislative payola is just too expensive for big businesses to continue to support in these hard economic times. Indiana need legislative payola reform now and we need to cut in half the current $100 limit of reportable payola payouts to legislators. Legislators should be able to live comfortably on their own salaries and $50 per day from any lobbyist who wants to bribe them for their time and their vote. And there are over 500 lobbyists out there who want to give them payola for their time and votes every day the Indiana legislature is in session. So why do we even pay legislators at all today. I say end the minor salaries of legislators today and end this major expense of government. Make big businesses pay openly for the favorable laws they buy from our Indiana legislators and Indiana taxpayers can save big by ending salaries paid to legislators in Indiana. This kind of privatization of government might even be extended to other government employees to further reduce the cost of government to taxpayers.

So in the coming months in Indiana support the new ethics reforms of our Indiana legalized payola laws for legislators. This is a first step in reforming our Indiana’s F grade of government ethics to an A grade. Let Indiana lead the way for big businesses to reform all the states in the nation who have nearly identical laws. Let other states of the nation reform their own payola laws to state legislators today. And soon maybe we can go all the way and completely end expensive taxpayer support for legislator salaries. With a nationwide 100% big business lobbyist supported payola system of government in America we can be great again and lead the world with our own brand of ethical capitalism and big businesses.

J.E. Ante, Graduate University of Indianapolis BA 1972, Head of the Life Science Institute Health Library, original organizer of first Earth Day in 1970 and local ZPG chapter in Indiana, Population and Environment Editor with Reflector at Indianapolis University, 12yr organic gardener with fruit, nuts, and berries, lifelong student of Out-of-Body spiritual techniques.( )

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