Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Lobbying reform runs into hurdles

Attempts are afoot in Congress to weaken the lobbying reforms passed with such fanfare in the first days of the 110th Congress.

The culprits? Democrats.

Now that they are running things, many Democrats want to keep the big campaign donations and lavish parties that lobbyists put together for them. They're also having second thoughts about having to wait an extra year before they can become high-paid lobbyists themselves should they retire or be defeated at the polls.

The growing resistance to several proposed reforms now threatens passage of a bill that once seemed on track to fulfill Democrats' campaign promise of cleaner fundraising and lobbying practices....

They include proposals to:

* Require lobbyists to disclose details about large donations they arrange for politicians.
* Make former lawmakers wait two years, instead of one, before lobbying Congress.
* Bar lobbyists from throwing large parties for lawmakers at national political conventions.

First, the bill has not been voted on yet. What we're seeing here are the behind-the-scenes disputes about the final language, and how to reconcile it with the Senate version.

That said, let's be clear: If the Democrats fail to deliver on this promise, they will and should be toast in 2008. If there's one thing voters wanted when they voted in November, it was a real clean-up of Washington's money culture. The Democrats promised to do so, and if they back away from key provisions it will simply have been a lie. Maybe all that money is nice now that they're in power; but they won't remain in power long if they don't take steps to lessen the lure of its siren song. And quickly.

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Anonymous Maxtrue said...

And the Democrats want to stop fraud prevention rules. Get the picture? I think it is becoming clear that Democratic positions are really about how anti-Bush they can get. To hell with the Middle East, Russia, China, Dafur.

Its about generating the polls and getting elected. Zero criteria as opposed to a bad one.

Keep blogging dude, political incorrectness is being in the center. Bloomberg might run and that would help Hillary. 2008 will be very interesting, if not frightening.

5/16/2007 1:38 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

Max: Yep. The Dems have a chance to prove they're different, and lock in control of Congress for years to come. But some of them simply want to seize the spoils of power. The good news: Blue Dog Democrats in vulnerable districts -- the ones who stand to lose their seats if this happens -- will fight them tooth and nail.

A Bloomberg run would be interesting simply to see what $1 billion in campaign spending looks like.

5/16/2007 3:50 PM  

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