With the recent relaxation of gifts to legislators a new system of “direct deposit” has been introduced to streamline political gift giving.
“We wanted to keep everything transparent and out in the open,” said Senator Goldbrick. “For too long it has been difficult and sometimes embarrassing to be associated with excessive entertaining and partying.”
“Many representatives and senators have been unfairly stigmatized by what is a perfectly normal legislative process,” continued Goldbrick. “If we can’t accept gifts from lobbyists and unions in a discreet way, state government would completely fall apart.”
With the new limit of $200 per meal, and, typically three meals per day, the “direct deposit” limit has been set at $600 per day.
“We had a couple of noteworthy incidents like the time when a large paper bag of twenty dollar bills ripped open and showered the courtyard of the State Capitol,” lamented the Senator. “Not only did it create some bad press, much of the money was never recovered!”
Another factor that was mentioned by several lawmakers is the encouragement of private/public partnerships to augment compensation for public service.
“It’s already been over a year since we got a 35% pay raise, and the cost of living keeps going up,” complained Senator Clayton Hong. “With direct deposits from the private sector and unions, we can be comfortable not having to ask for another raise this year.”
Honolulu’s City Council is also looking at setting up similar debit cards for processing gifts.
“It’s much cleaner just using cash,” said one Councilman. “You can only drink so much wine.”
“Also, if this system was in place a couple of years ago, my good friend Rod Tam would be Mayor today.”