Extracurricular Lobbying

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Even as Connecticut's legislative candidates have the chance to run with Clean Elections public financing for the first time this year, the state legislature is still chewing over ethics and corruption questions. Now they are debating whether to prohibit registered lobbyists from serving on state boards and commissions.

The argument is that lobbyists enjoy special access to lawmakers that might give undue weight to the concerns of the board or commission of which they were a member. The Hartford Courant is in favor of such a prohibition:

On balance, it's better for the cause of good government that lobbyists, whose business it is to shape public policy and make deals for special interests, stick to lobbying. The prohibition ought to be passed. Mr. Caruso has conceded that the ban should not apply to statehouse lobbyists who are members of local boards and commissions, unless they have a conflict.

Whether or not lobbyists are in fact using their influence outside of working hours, perception counts for a lot these days especially in Connecticut, which is still mindful of the corruption scandals in its recent past.