Lobbyists can’t lobby Maryland Legislators from prison. Not anymore. I’m sorry, but legislators have put their feet down this time. No lobbying from prison, period. We can all sleep better now. Wait a second what?
Well, first you have to realize that there’s a “culture of corruption created and tolerated by legislators and lobbyists in the state of Maryland.” That’s what a judge said last year after yet another scandal and yet another Maryland lobbyist went to jail. So how to change the public’s view of the Legislature? Well, legislators could begin by reforming themselves, limiting their own power through term limits, for example. Or they could legislate some feel-good nonsense and declare all corruption healed by legislative decree. Of course, they choose the latter in triplicate.
Laws allow us to arrest folks for doing the wrong things; they can’t make corrupt people do the right thing. Arrests alone can’t bring accountability. The real problem is that Maryland’s incumbents face no serious competition for their seats. So they can abuse power at will. The bill’s prohibition against lobbying from prison comes by way of an earlier lobbyist turned convict who simply continued his lobbying practice using the jailhouse pay phone and, of course, his excellent contacts among all the Mr. Clean legislators. Maryland politicians mugging for the cameras with their latest phony Band-Aid that’s more evidence of the problem, not part of the solution.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.