HARRISBURG PA – Pennsylvanians are gathering this week to exchange presents with family and friends, but for some residents of the state, Christmas lasts all through the year.
From Turkish rugs to all-expense-paid trips to the Super Bowl, lawmakers and other high-ranking state officials rack up all sorts of goodies from lobbyists looking to generate some goodwill for their special interests. And thanks to some of the least restrictive laws in the nation regarding political gift-giving, according to The Pennsylvania Independent online news service, state pols have a constant stream of expensive presents waiting to be unwrapped.
Under state law, elected officials must disclose all gifts valued at more than $250, unless they are given by a family member or friend. Transportation, lodging and hospitality valued at more than $650 also must be reported.
The quarterly financial disclosures filed by lobbyists and the annual statements of financial interest filed by state lawmakers give a glimpse at gifts that range from the mundane to the extraordinary. Sports tickets and souvenirs are hot items.
Photo from The Independent