Kentucky Republican state Senator: the First Amendment protects my right to receive bribes

Republican Kentucky state Sen. John Schickel is suing to overturn the state's ethics laws so that he can accept gifts worth more than $1,000 from lobbyists without reporting them, because he thinks the current ethics rules violate his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

The laws he's seeking to overturn were passed in 1992, after Kentucky legislators were revealed to be selling their votes. He has been emboldened by Citizens United and other court decisions in which judges ruled that limits on political spending were unconstitutional.

The lawsuit notes that lobbyists and the employers of lobbyists are prohibited by Kentucky law from inviting legislators to parties, offering gifts, or paying for food for legislators. "This infringes on the legislator's, lobbyist's, and employer of lobbyist's right to freedom of association, and freedom of speech," Schickel claims in the suit.

Legislator Says Gift Ban Violates His Freedom of Speech
[Lee Fang/The Intercept]

(Image: The Pay Off,, CC-BY)