Saturday, December 6, 2008

Wiggle Rooms

No more need for sneaking into cheap hotel rooms for Colorado state legislators, in order to dodge the prying eyes of ethics enforcers. And no, that doesn't mean adulterous affairs are permitted.

It's the AAA room discounts that were creating concern, since voters in 2006 approved an absurdly restrictive gift ban that has everyone walking on egg shells. It barred legislators from accepting any "gifts" exceeding $50 in value, and laid down a bunch of other ridiculous rules meant to curb corruption -- though there was no evidence whatsoever that Colorado legislators were corrupt. But now that dark shadow has been lifted by Colorado's Independent Ethics Commission, which has ruled that the gift ban doesn't apply to AAA and other hotel room discounts.

Getting a few bucks knocked off the hotel bill isn't likely to turn elected officials into puppets of hotel interests, commissioners concluded -- not like getting a steak dinner from a lobbyist might! That means legislators can march into hotel lobbies, heads held high, and unashamedly cash-in a room voucher. Even if they have their mistress in tow.

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