Good Government or Free Speech Violation?
February 17th, 2006

Seeing the scandals in Washington, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn decided to push for the toughest lobbying restrictions in New York City history.

Good government groups applauded the move, but said whether they would be effective depends on enforcement.

“You can have the best law in the world. If it’s just gathering dust on the pages, it just doesn’t do anybody any good,” said Gene Russianoff of New York Public Interest Research Group.

But the New York Sun sees the city’s move as part of an “anti-first Amendment fad” that is keeping people from “exercising their constitutionally guaranteed rights of speech and petition.” Aside from being wrongheaded, the city is being impractical, the Sun writes, because “cutting off the obvious channels for that money will only force it even deeper under cover.”

Meanwhile, it’s pretty obvious that the current laws are gathering dust rather than forcing money into deep cover. The city clerk’s office says no one has been fined for violating its lobbying laws in at least four years.

By on February 17, 2006, 11:34 am
In category: Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Law | 2 Comments »

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2 Responses to “Good Government or Free Speech Violation?”

  1. Gotham Gazette - The Wonkster » Blog Archive » Debating Lobbying Reform Says:
    February 27th, 2006 at 8:31 am

    […] As Wonkster has written before, not everyone takes such a positive view of the proposal. Today the New York Post has its say. […]

  2. Gotham Gazette - The Wonkster » Blog Archive » Times Lauds Council Lobbying Reform Says:
    May 22nd, 2006 at 8:01 am

    […] The City Council is on the right track with lobbying reform, writes the New York Times in an editorial. The Times praised a plan pushed by Council Speaker Christine Quinn, saying it does a good job increasing disclosure, toughening enforcement, placing a symbolic ban on gifts from lobbyists, and excluding lobbyists’ donations from the city’s campaign finance program. [Others feel differently, describing the restrictions as “violations of free speech.”] […]

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