Ethics law advocates think gift ban bill likely to pass

    Pennsylvania’s most avid critics of the state ethics act are confident proposals to ban public officials from accepting cash gifts stands a real chance in the Legislature.  Under current ethics law, public officials can accept gifts, but most disclose if they receive gifts valued at $250 or more, or any transportation, lodging, or hospitality valued at more than $650.

    Lawmakers and reform advocates alike have called for change in the wake of reports that four Philadelphia House Democrats accepted money from an undercover informant working with state prosecutors in a quashed investigation.

    Republican Senator Lloyd Smucker of Lancaster County is among several lawmakers calling for a prohibition on cash gifts.”It should be a given that we already have that in place but we don’t and so we’re hoping that that particular aspect of the ethics law could quickly be revised and passed into law”, said Smucker.

    Barry Kauffman says his government reform group, Common Cause PA, has been calling for a ban on all gifts, cash or otherwise, for more than 40 years. He says the latest revelations about some lawmakers present a unique opportunity to pass a cash gift ban, but adds that all gifts should be prohibited.

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