#rsrh Oregon legislature tries cronyism reform. Again.

Background: in 2009 there was a bit of a scandal when two Democratic legislators (one from the Senate and one from the House) parlayed their positions in the state legislature to score cushy government jobs*.  In response, the (Democratic-controlled) Oregon House of Representatives passed a bill imposing an one-year moratorium on taking state jobs on exiting legislators, unless those jobs were “publicly advertised and the state seeks out at least three qualified applicants.”  The bill died in the (Democratic-controlled) Senate, apparently because the Senate didn’t want to offend the two aforementioned legislators.

But it’s 2011, and the Oregon House is now split 50/50 Democratic/Republican, and the bill (House Bill 3446) has been reintroduced in the House – and passed unanimously by that body.  The ratio is still pretty lopsided Democratic in the Oregon Senate, but there may be more movement this go-round.  If it doesn’t… well, it may become a bit of an election issue: apparently Oregon state politics are a bit notorious for their revolving-door system for legislators.

So we’ll see.

Moe Lane

*This interpretation of events will no doubt offend some, but then I’ve never really felt bad about hurting the feelings of people who voluntarily apologize on behalf of other people who can go from $22 grand/year salaries to $95-122 grand/year salaries simply because they don’t feel like running for elections anymore.


  • Demosthenes says:

    I don’t really have a problem with legislators scoring more lucrative jobs in the private sector after their retirement from office, whether voluntary or forced. Most of them do have expertise on how the legislature works, after all, and that is a marketable skill. However, yes, I draw the line at moving to another position in government. That just smacks of patronage politics. I’m not saying it could — or even should — never happen, but the benefits to all parties concerned need to be so obvious that only the least fair-minded person could ever look at the situation and say, “Well, s/he just got that job because s/he used to be a senator.”

  • Demosthenes says:

    Forgot to add something, Moe. Actually, your interpretation of events DOES offend me, though not in the way you meant. It fails to mention one really critical detail…that, in the words of the article you linked, said jobs were “brand-new,” and so obviously created SPECIFICALLY FOR those legislators. Appointing a retiring legislator to a job that already exists in, say, a Cabinet department is one thing — though I already said I would find even that objectionable in most cases. But creating a landing pad for an outgoing lawmaker is dirty pool no matter how you line up the shot.

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