Lawmakers want to carve out special protections for themselves to hide gifts

Legislators want to be able to take gifts from special interests and lobbyists and then hide them, according to an amendment to an already gutted campaign transparency bill.

Yes, you read that right.

The amendment mysteriously is not on the legislative web site, but I have obtained it ( put in by Assembly panel on Friday) and attached the relevant parts here.

The language carves out a section for state lawmakers to allow them to attend events to which all members of the Gang of 63 are invited and accept freebies. That's brazen enough. But they want more: They want to be able to conceal their favors from the public.

That's what the amendment says. That's how shameless they are. (I wonder how other gift-grabbing elected officials feel that state lawmakers want this provision all to themselves. They are special, eh?)

The measure, SB 49, is in the Assembly now after senators dramatically scaled back real-time reporting provisions, altered gift rules and made cash-on-hand as invisible as ever. The legislation from the secretary of state's office still has good provisions -- quarterly off-year reporting, for instance -- but it is a shadow of its original self.

And now this? Upon what meat doth the Gang of 63 feed?