(NN&V Staff) – Assemblyman Ed Goedhart (R-Amargosa Valley) announced on Sunday that he is immediately adopting a new policy of not meeting with former legislative colleagues who become paid lobbyists within two years of the end of their legislative service in a voluntary effort to put a stop to Nevada’s revolving door of elected officials cashing in on their public service.
“The current controversy surrounding my Assembly colleague Moose Arberry, who only days ago resigned his seat after negotiating to become a paid lobbyist for Clark County judges while still a legislator, is exactly the sort of conflict of interest that causes voters to distrust all elected officials,” Goedhart said.
“So not only have I introduced a bill mandating a cooling off period of at least two years, preferably four, between the time a legislator leaves office and the time he is allowed to become a professional lobbyist, I intend to implement just such a ban voluntarily in my office effective immediately.”
Goedhart said his new policy would not only include Arberry, but also former Republican Nevada State Sen. Warren Hardy, who left office less than two years ago and now lobbies professionally for the Associated Builders and Contractors.
“I’m not saying I won’t meet with people, companies and associations who hire my former colleagues within the two year cooling off period,” Goedhart further explained. “I’m just saying they’re going to have to send a different lobbyist to speak with me, or they can contact me directly themselves.”
Goedhart noted he had already submitted an “anti-revolving door” BDR (bill draft request) for the 2011 session before the Arberry controversy became public last week. In addition, he said he was evaluating whether or not his new policy would also include former legislators who take unpaid positions as citizen lobbyists within a two-year period.
“I think advocating voluntarily for a cause or principle out of a genuine belief in that cause or principle is something different from being a hired gun in which you are benefiting financially,” Goedhart explained. “However, I also know that people who want to find a way to get around something will certainly try. So I’ll discuss this further with my constituents on the campaign trail this fall before making a final decision.”
(Ed Goedhart represents Nevada Assembly District 36, a rural district generally covering southern and middle Nevada.)