Measure prohibiting state employees from making political contributions fails
By Jackelyn Severin
A bill prohibiting full-time state employees from making political contributions to gubernatorial candidates died in the House State Affairs committee. Proponents of House Bill 1089 say the current practice is unethical and leads to cronyism and abuse of power by the executive branch. Democratic Representative Peggy Gibson of Huron says the bill is not meant to punish state employees but protect them.
Gibson says, "Almost always the state government employee chooses to make a campaign contribution under no direct coercion. But the system itself fosters considerable pressure on the employee to contribute when first he or she sees his co-workers doing it. Second he or she sees his supervisor doing it, third he or she owes his appointment or retention to the Governor and fourth he or she hopes to purchase job security making an impressive contribution many times only to be fired"
Opponents say the measure infringes on state employees’ constitutional rights. The committee defeated the bill by a vote of 9 to 4.
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