Empty Chairs at Empty Tables

Lobbying gift bans: Good for clean elections, bad for the local economy? That's what restaurants in Tallahassee are reporting. Bars and eateries in the state ...
by | April 18, 2006

Empty_1 Lobbying gift bans: Good for clean elections, bad for the local economy?

That's what restaurants in Tallahassee are reporting. Bars and eateries in the state capital say business is bad ever since the state passed a law banning legislators, their staffs, and other government officials from accepting gifts from lobbyists.

One private club says its business has fallen 20 pecent since the law took effect in January. Other places that had been popular with lawmakers are predicting similarly dire consequences of the ban.

Lobbyists are suing to overturn the ban, but it's not really clear if the damage suffered by these restaurants will make that much of a difference. If you pass a gift ban like this, you're already choosing ethics over economics. Does it make a difference if a restaurant can prove it's lost money?

(Incidentally, restaurants in D.C. are saying the same thing would happen here if Congress approves a federal gift ban.)

Zach Patton | Executive Editor | zpatton@governing.com