Kentucky lawmakers got some blunt instruction Wednesday on how to avoid political corruption — from an unusual source. According to the Lexington Herald-Leader
, legislators came away from an ethics class conducted at the State Capitol complex in Frankfort by convicted Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff with a new appreciation of how to serve the public.
State Rep. Carl Rollins, a Democrat, told the Herald-Leader he was impressed with Abramoff’s recommendation that lawmakers shut the revolving door between public service and lobbying — an argument the former lobbyist has been making since his release last year from federal prison on charges of fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy.
“We’ve had some legislative staff members and legislators who have gone on to become lobbyists here in Frankfort,” Rollins told the newspaper. “You can see where there would be room for abuse.”
The advice to lawmakers did not come free, however.
The state Legislative Ethics Commission paid Abramoff $5,000 to lecture them on everything from avoiding even the smallest of gifts to how to recognize all kinds of influence peddling.
The money should help Abramoff pay off some $44 million in restitution the courts have ordered him to make good on because of his own efforts to influence politicians in Washington.
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