Politicians are to blame for taking lobbyists' gifts

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 - 3:02 pm

Re "Record fine charged to lobbyist" (Page A1, Feb. 11): It seems to me that when a lobbyist offers a gift to a politician, there is no violation unless the politician accepts the gift.

If the politician says no, no harm no foul, other than the money wasted by the lobbyist buying the gift.

The Bee reported that the lobbyist got fined and the politicians got warned. Doesn't it seem that the politician is the main person responsible for the transaction by accepting the gift?

As Tom Sullivan has said on his radio show, lobbyists are necessary because it is more practical to have one person represent your cause rather than thousands of people trying to see their representatives. The trick is for the politician to say no to any and all gifts and listen to the lobbyists on the merits of the issues of the group they represent.

-- John Hightower, Orangevale

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