MARIETTA — No one is listed receiving any yachts, but lobbyists do buy meals and smaller gifts for Cobb lawmakers.
Whether it’s state Rep. John Carson (R-east Cobb) receiving a $200 Georgia Chamber of Commerce dinner paid for by a lobbyist with the University System of Georgia or a lobbyist with the Home Depot buying state Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-west Cobb) a $100 ticket to the Georgia Chamber Eggs and Issues breakfast, lobbyists must report the money they spend on lawmakers to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission. ...
Dr. Kerwin Swint, a political science professor at Kennesaw State University, said lunches and small gifts are acceptable to most people.
“It’s the larger items that generate the questions over ethics,” Swint said. “Georgia currently has no limit at all on what lobbyists may spend on public officials, which to many people creates an environment open to the influence of money and gifts. It also puts Georgia behind many neighboring southern states, including Tennessee and Alabama, that do have limits on how much lobbyists can spend.”