How About Nothing?

State Seal 2As Virginia’s General Assembly considers its policy for regulating gifts to delegates, I have a suggestion. No gifts.

No gifts from Dominion, Star Scientific, chemical companies, railroads, airlines, real estate developers, road contractors. No gifts. None.

But what about meals, the delegates ask. We have to eat, don’t we? Buy your own meals. You’re perfectly capable of feeding yourselves.

But what about access? Let the corporate lobbyists do what the rest of us have to do. Write letters, send emails, make phone calls, schedule appointments to visit you and your staff in your Richmond office, or when you’re back in your district.

No gifts. It’s simple. And think of the money the companies will save on pens, mugs, water bottles, Rolex watches, green fees, big city shopping trips, wedding receptions, vehicle leases, chartered jets, exotic vacations—money that quite possibly can be returned to you as dividends in the stock that you own. You may get a little personal benefit out of some public integrity yet.

Think how good it will feel when you’ve tackled once and for all how much and what kind of gifts you may receive as a side benefit of your good paying, part-time job as public servant.

Along the spectrum of all or nothing—how about nothing?

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