Lobbying reform runs into hurdles
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.
ethics, politics, midtopia