Skip to main content

It's time to end gifts to legislators

04/02/2014 10:56AM, Published by ACL, Categories: Opinion, In Print



Letter to the Editor:

In Pennsylvania, giving gifts to legislators is big business. 

Under current law, only gifts valued over $250 or transportation and lodging over $650 must be disclosed. However, in Pennsylvania, any gifts of any value can legally be given to legislators, as long as it can’t be linked directly to a vote. This is an improper law and practice that is counter to the principles on which our government was founded. The public knows these gifts are given for only one reason, and one reason only -- to enhance influence over policy. The legislature must not be permitted to be sold to the highest bidder.

In New Jersey, lobbyists are prohibited from giving legislators anything worth more than $250 per year. Ohio has a limit of $75 a year for any gift or hospitality. Even Philadelphia recently voted to limit gifts to a value of no more than $99 a year and prohibited cash gifts entirely. It is time to change the laws in Pennsylvania.

I believe that any gift of more than $50 per year should be prohibited. I believe that a small gift threshold is acceptable because I know that groups, schools, and nonprofits will often give a hat, T-shirt or coffee mug to a legislator to thank him or her for a visit. These gifts would certainly not sway a vote and are given with all good intentions. They are reasonable tokens of appreciation that are also given to volunteers and supporters. 

Accepting expensive gifts, travel and envelopes of cash gives well-funded and powerful lobbyists unequal access to the legislature and dilutes the power of the people's voice. Legislators are paid well to do their job and I believe they should do the job they are paid to do without accepting gifts from those who want to influence state policy.


Susan Rzucidlo

Democratic candidate for PA State House, 158th District


Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Chester County's free newsletter to catch every headline



legislators


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Holidays at Hagley: A Child's Delight

    12/05/2016
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    The 1803 du Pont family ancestral home, Eleutherian Mills, will feature holiday decorations and i...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    12/05/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Drop in on Nature

    12/08/2016
    09:30AM — 12:00PM

    Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, September 15th thru Thursday...


  • Holidays at Hagley: A Child's Delight

    12/08/2016
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    The 1803 du Pont family ancestral home, Eleutherian Mills, will feature holiday decorations and i...


  • Christmas by Candlelight

    12/08/2016
    01:00PM

    Christmas by Candlelight, a heartwarming celebration of the yuletide season, is back by popular d...


  • Nature Studio

    12/08/2016
    04:00PM — 05:30AM

    Thursdays from 4:00PM-5:30PM Fall session: December 1st, 8th and 15th Winter session: Starts J...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    12/08/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto

    12/08/2016
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto By Pete Pryor & Samantha Reading Music & Lyrics by Alex Bech...


  • The Road: My Life with John Denver

    12/08/2016
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    The Road: My Life with John Denver By Randal Myler & Dan Wheetman Directed by Randal Myler Dec...


Chester County High School Sports