The gift is, apparently, being redefined.
At least in Missouri [ht: ja], where a lawmaker introduced a bill that would require lobbyists to report “sexual relations” with state legislators as a “gift” in their disclosures to the state ethics commission.
“We’ve already got a lobbyist gift reporting requirement and so that’s how I worked it in there, by treating it as a definition of gift,” Rep. Bart Korman, a Republican from High Hill, told CNN on Thursday. “I hope it deters any of that activity, but that if activity does occur, it’s at least transparent.” . . .
Asked why he didn’t create a separate reporting requirement for sex between consenting adults — married couples and those in relationships before one was elected or began lobbying are exempted — Korman said he “didn’t want to create a larger bureaucracy or a lot of additional extra laws.”
“I just put it as the gift section because it’s the closest thing I could come up with,” he explained. Other options already on the books include “printing and publication expenses,” “media and other advertising expenses” “travel, “the time, venue, and nature of any entertainment,” “honoraria, “meals,” and “food and beverages.”
There is however, one important distinction between Korman’s tweak and other noteworthy expenditures, like tickets to a ballgame.
In the new bill, “the reporting of sexual relations for purposes of this subdivision shall not require a dollar valuation.”
In North Carolina, however, the state’s ethics commission decided that “consensual sexual relationships do not have monetary value and therefore are not reportable as gifts.”
So, the question is, what constitutes a gift to a politician? It would be a gift without monetary value in Missouri, while in North Carolina it’s not a gift because it has no monetary value.
In both cases, however, government officials having sex with lobbyists is perfectly ethical.