Senator Renee Unterman, R-Buford, is having a little trouble with the Senate rule adopted last month which caps lobbyists gifts at $100 per senator. The rule, true to form from Gold Dome leaders, includes a loophole allowing more to be spent if an entire committee or subcommittee is included in an invitation.
The AJC reports that Unterman wants to use that loophole so she and 25 Republicans, the “majority’s chairmen,” can meet on Tuesdays and Wednesdays over lunches paid for with lobbyist money. But there are also Democrats chairing committees, so making it a “special for Republican leaders” lunch isn’t the same as inviting all committee chairs as the loophole requires.
In other words, Unterman’s request seems to violate the Senate’s new rule.
Members of the General Assembly receive $17, 342 per year, and a per diem of $173 per day when they are in session. Apparently that isn’t enough for Unterman and her Republican colleagues so she wants lobbyists to pick up the lunch tab twice a week.
If General Assembly members need some help learning how to manage lunch on a busy work day, there are plenty of taxpaying constituents who can share some tips with them.
I’ve got some money-saving ideas for Unterman if she needs some suggestions on lunches that are nutritious, easy to pack, and inexpensive. In a pinch lots of restaurants offer Dollar and Value Menu choices now, plus online coupons for savings.
There’s no excuse for sidestepping the cap on gifts. And lunch is never free when it is paid for by lobbyists.