Voters asked to cap lobbyist donations

Senator Josh McKoon and William Perry stand in support of ethics reform. / Jessica Fairley

While touring 14 cities in four days, the Ethics Express pulled into Albany Wednesday afternoon.

Those aboard the bus say now is the time for voters to demand honesty from the government and they say a good start is by limiting the amount of money a lobbyist can spend on those in the general assembly.

Question 2 has been placed on the voting ballot asking voters, "Do you support eliminating the practice of unlimited gifts from lobbyists to state legislatures by imposing a $100 gift cap?"

The Georgia Tea Party Patriots, Georgia Common Cause and Georgia Conservatives in Action say there is no single issue on the July 31st ballot more important than ethics reform, not the economy nor the states infrastructure.

"Each and every one of those issues requires voters to place some degree of trust and confidence in their government," says Josh McKoon, State Senator R-Columbus.

It's a trust he says has been broken by generations of elected officials who've made broken promises or been indicted for ethics violations. McKoon says one example of lost trust is the Transportation Special Options Sales Tax referendum.

"All over the state they're having significant difficulty convincing voters that the money that is collected will actually be spent on these projects. Why because voters don't trust elected officials and who can blame them," says Josh McKoon.

He believes one way to build trust in government is to support ethics reform. Those against the measure call it a liberal proposal, but supporters say it's not about one party.

"Republicans and Democrats know that they can vote in their primaries to help limit lobbyist gifts," says William Perry, Executive Director of Common Cause Georgia.

Supporters of ethics reform hold that there are only two things people expect out of government, that's competency and honesty.

"Demanding honest government and demanding a standard of excellence from your elected official is not a republican value, it's not a democratic value, it's an American value," says Josh McKoon.

More than 130 candidates for the legislature have signed the pledge in support of ethic reform.

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