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Atwater: Ausley has a free lunch problem

Only a day after Loranne Ausley called for the Legislature to follow the law and audit lobbyist expendiature reports, Jeff Atwater's campaign is hitting Ausley for a bill she sponsored that they say would undermine the lobbyist gift ban. The bill in question would have allowed lobbyists to pay for up to $19 in meals for a lawmaker at a meeting where governmental issues or items in the public were being discussed.

“That reform (requiring the lobbyist audits) included a very matter-of-fact gift ban,” said Atwater spokesman Brian Hughes. “Just a few years after that, she sponsored this legislation which undermined the gift ban. That’s hypocrisy.”

Ausley spokesman Kevin Cate e-mailed over a response that did not address her bill: “It’s nice to welcome Jeff Atwater to the campaign, if only to defend his refusal to follow the law and audit lobbyists. Now if only he had a platform, or a defense of his $2 billion in tax hikes, or his votes for the $48 million Taj Mahal, or the $110 million private prison to nowhere, or his RPOF AmEx card. I’m sure this will all be explained in detail at the debate that he refuses to have with the real fiscal watchdog in the campaign, Loranne Ausley. ”

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