Holcomb Endorses Outright Ban on Lobbyist Gifts to Legislators; Praises Speaker Ralston; Urges Immediate Action

Press Release

Holcomb Endorses Outright Ban on Lobbyist Gifts to Legislators; Praises Speaker Ralston; Urges Immediate Action

August 15, 2012 - Atlanta, Georgia. Today, State Representative Scott Holcomb (D - North Central DeKalb) announced his support for House Speaker David Ralston's (R - Blue Ridge) promise to craft legislation to end all lobbyist gifts to legislators.

"I am pleased that the Speaker has expressed his commitment to change the way business is done in the Georgia General Assembly. The people of Georgia spoke very clearly on July 31st and Republicans and Democrats agreed on the need for reform. Every voter wants to know that legislators at the General Assembly are working on behalf of the people and not for the benefit of their own pocketbooks, frequent flyer accounts, or stomachs. Ending all lobbyist gifts is an important step in restoring public trust in government. The amount of money that lobbyists spend on elected officials is simply astonishing. I am delighted with the seriousness of the Speaker's proposal and I will be very happy to co-sponsor legislation to this effect. I would like to see the law ban overseas trips, weekend getaways to fancy resorts, golf outings, sports tickets, and even meals. As any economist will tell you, there's no such thing as a free lunch. Legislators receive per diem from Georgia's taxpayers, so they should pay for their own meals from now on," said Holcomb.

Speaker Ralston has promised to convene a study group to examine other states' best practices regarding gift bans. Holcomb urges the group to get started right away so legislation can be ready to go on day 1 of the next legislative session. "Legislation should be drafted soon so the General Assembly can pass and the Governor can sign the new law quickly. The solution is really quite simple so it should not take long to study, draft, and implement the changes. To that end, the new law should go into effect on the day it is signed by Governor Deal."

Holcomb also calls for the study group to enhance the enforcement powers of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission as part of the reform effort. "I think these changes have the potential to make things better. I will finish my first term in January and I was amazed at how things 'work' at the Capitol. Reform is long overdue and while these measures won't fix all the problems at the Gold Dome, they should make for better policy making," said Holcomb. "Lastly, the law must cast the net widely, beyond just the legislators. The Governor, who will sign the law, needs to be covered by the ban, as well as state-wide elected officials and state employees," added Holcomb.

Representative Holcomb was elected in 2010 and was named a Deputy Whip as a freshman. He served on the Defense and Veterans Affairs Committee, Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, and the Children and Youth Committee. Representative Holcomb is an attorney with more than a decade of experience. He began his career with the U.S. Army JAG Corps and deployed overseas three times. Following his military service, he worked at one of Atlanta's most prestigious law firms. He has taught part-time at Georgia Tech and is currently enrolled in the MBA program at the University of Georgia. He lives in the Northlake area with his wife Kathleen and their two children, Carter and Kirsten. The family attends Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.

Representative Holcomb's website is www.votescottholcomb.com and he can be reached through email at scott@repscottholcomb.com.

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