Tuesday, April 03, 2007

How Long Before We Import This Idea?

Some lawmakers in New Jersey want to make their legislators full-time state employees and ban outside employment. Their reasoning goes that part-time legislators are subject to conflicts of interest with their outside employment. So, no outside job, no conflict of interest? What a shock it is that such flimsy reasoning would fly in New Jersey. Can there be any doubt Kentucky will pick up the scent quickly?

Kentucky does not need to follow on this track. This is like campaign finance reform. Any effort to get dirty money out of politics just creates more creative criminals. Especially with casino goons circling around Frankfort, we need to keep part-time legislators with their disclosure forms. One change I would propose, though, is that they be required to include their federal income tax return with their annual financial disclosure forms. Lawmakers would then be less likely to "forget" to mention business relationships on their disclosure forms. When they are caught doing that now, they file an amended disclosure form and the problem goes away. If we involve the IRS, then if we catch one of them in some kind of scheme he or she would be subject to federal prison. Another benefit to this approach would be a more intense interest in the Fair Tax, which involves essentially shutting down the IRS.