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Terms limits keep lobbyists in check

To the editor: Jim Newton says that term limits shift power away from legislators and into the hands of lobbyists. There's one problem with this oft-repeated claim: The evidence demonstrates that the opposite is true. ("A journalist's recipe for fixing L.A.," Op-Ed, Nov. 23)

When lobbyists and the special interests they represent get involved financially in term-limits campaigns, they tend to contribute to whichever side wants to weaken or abolish those limits. Under Newton's logic, these interests spend money to make themselves less influential. That doesn't make sense.

In fact, term limits make lobbyists' jobs harder by severing their ties with legislators. They're forced to reestablish influence with newcomers, which takes time and effort.

Felon megalobbyist Jack Abramoff has admitted as much: "Like almost every lobbyist I knew, I didn't want to have to build relationships with new members constantly. A representative who stayed in office for decades, and was a friend, was worth his weight in gold."

Nicolas Tomboulides, Palm Beach, Fla.

The writer is executive director of U.S. Term Limits.

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