Oh never mind


Published: Saturday, January 21, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 20, 2006 at 11:52 p.m.
Last year, the Florida Legislature decided that people who made their living lobbying state government shouldn't serve on state university governing boards. Gov. Jeb Bush apparently agreed, since he signed the Legislature's bill into law.
Since then, a handful of university trustees and Board of Governors members have resigned. Others, have not however, including former House Speaker-turned lobbyist John Thrasher.
Thrasher is a trustee for Florida State University. He once helped FSU get a medical school. Now he's being paid to help the University of Central Florida get a medical school.
So what about the state law barring lobbyists from serving?
The Bush administration has reportedly decided that lobbyists currently serving may be "grandfathered" in, meaning they can continue to serve until their terms expire.
Thrasher is not only an influential former state official, but he also maintains close ties to the governor. Other lobbyists who continue to serve include former Attorney General Jim Smith, former state Republican Party chair Al Cardenas and David Griffin, who ran Gov. Bush's transition team in 2002.
It may be within Bush's authority to decide that the law simply doesn't apply to his friends and allies. But the end result of that decision is to, at least for now, ignore a legislative directive that was clearly intended to limit the influence of people who, after all, earn their living by influencing public officials.
Ethics reform delayed is ethics reform denied.

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