Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Lobbying reform I like

As I have said earlier, we need lobbying reform that reforms the way Congress acts, not just who can lobby.

I did not like Rep. Kennedy's proposal on a lifetime ban on former members of Congress being lobbyists. This was because it doesn't address the real issue of how close members of Congress are to lobbyisys.

House and Senate Republicans have come out with a proposal which addresses the real issue, lobbyst/member relations.

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The House and Senate proposals are the latest GOP effort to try to respond to a growing bribery and corruption scandal spawned by the activities of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Many of the proposals tackle practices so prevalent that they hardly raise an eyebrow, such as the trips to Jamaica and Hawaii that House members from both parties embarked on just last week.

Indeed, measures that would have had little chance of approval a year ago are on the fast track to passage. House Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) said the House will vote Feb. 1 -- the first day of the chamber's session -- on ending former lawmakers' congressional access. The broader package of rule changes could be ready for a full House vote by mid-March.

"We need to reform the rules so that it is clear, beyond a shadow of a doubt, what is ethically acceptable," said House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). (Source: Washington Post, Jan. 18, 2006)
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I'm not saying this proposal is perfect, but it gets at the real issue.

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