Pennsylvania Considering Ban on All Gifts to Politicians: What Do You Think?
The state of Pennsylvania is currently considering a major political reform bill affecting the value and type of gifts that politicians from the state can receive. The current bill, which affects cash gifts only, has passed the state senate but a larger ban—one that could include physical gifts of any kind—could be possible.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Senate State Government Committee chairman Sen. Lloyd Smucker (R., Lancaster), has "advocated a wide ban on gifts and hospitality." What a "wide" ban would mean is unknown, but if it mirrors bills that exist in other states, it could mean a total exclusion. This would mean common promotional thank-yous—such as a crystal award from a nonprofit or a commemorative flag from a veteran's association—would be illegal in Pennsylvania under such a bill.
The current cash-banning bill is not yet law, still having to pass the state House and be approved by the governor. According to the Inquirer, a spokesperson for Governor Corbett said that he would approve the cash ban, but "stopped short of saying the governor would support a complete gift ban." Others in the Pennsylvania government have also expressed doubt over banning gifts. Said the Inquirer:
"Senate President Joe Scarnati's chief counsel, Drew Crompton, said he thinks a total gift ban could be unwieldy and difficult to enforce. Would that mean returning or destroying flowers from a constituent? Plaques from civic clubs? Coffee mugs from a local business?"
What do you think? Should Pennsylvania follow the lead of states like Florida and enact a total ban on gifts to politicians? Should allowances be made for gifts under a certain value, as other states have done? Or should there be no ban on gifts at all? Let us know through the poll or in the comments field below.
Related story: PM042914_PApoliticansPoll