February 24, 2011

Transparency Review (2/21 - 2/25)

• Former lawmaker-turned-lobbyist Morse Arberry has admitted he violated state ethics laws when he signed a contract to lobby for the Clark County District Court while still serving in the Nevada Legislature. He will pay a $750 fine and avoid a public hearing. His contract with the Clark County District Court fell through once Arberry's conflict of interest was brought to light. He is currently a registered lobbyist for Nevada Youth Care Providers. Looks like the man trying to strike while the iron was hot got burned.

• The Nevada Policy Research Institute is proud to announce the launch of TweetNevada, a website that makes it easy for citizens to stay informed about the goings-on in Carson City during the 2011 legislative session. You can read the press release here.

• The video of the week award goes to Jonathan Humbert and the I-Team for their must-watch report on continued waste and questionable spending at the LVCVA. They even put together a search engine so you can see for yourself how the LVCVA spends its money.

• Sen. Harry Reid has called on the Nevada legislature to abolish term limits, saying they create a "vacuum" of institutional knowledge that gives power to special interests and unelected lobbyists.

• Ten Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill -- AB184 -- that institutes a "cooling off" period for former legislators and state officers before they can lobby the legislature.

• Earmarks are dead! Long live earmarks! The Hill reports that Sens. Boxer (D-Calif.) and Inhofe (R-Okla.) are asking senators to submit specific requests for the upcoming Water Resources Development Act. While Boxer and Inhofe are careful to avoid the word "earmark" in their letter, Steve Ellis with Taxpayers for Common Sense says it's still de-facto earmarking. It'll be interesting to see who President Obama agrees with and if he'll make good on his promise to veto any bill containing earmarks.

• The Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College has put together an informative website examining how redistricting will play out in each state, namely who will control the process. It's pretty interesting that of the five states that use "Commission Control," four are West Coast states.

Politico reports that Obama administration aides are holding meetings with lobbyists off-site in order to keep records of the visits off the White House visitor logs.