In the era of Enron, the state House and Senate license legislative briberyNow is not the time to loosen ethical standards anywhere in government. The era of Enron chicanery, rivaled by many other large corporations, is imitated by the Bush administration in which the wolves guard the hen house.
In a moment of great disappointment, the Oregon House and Senate have passed legislation that would allow lobbyists new freedom in their mission to buy influence. As The Oregonian has proclaimed, the bill "would promote corruption in Oregon government."
The bill would allow lobbyists to pay for legislators' families to attend athletic events or travel to resorts. It would also loosen lobbyists' ability to give legislators unlimited gifts. Jack Ohman's cartoon on this page offers a visualization of what will occur.
Greed has always been a player in the legislative process. That is why we have reporting standards and prohibitions against certain types of giving.
At a time when we need to rearm against the avarice that soils our public life, this bill is a license to bribe. In a word, the bill stinks. We urge Gov. Ted Kulongoski to veto it.