Ties between lobbyists and Members under attack
The Hill reports Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold (D) will introduce a bill to overhaul the way lobbyists and lawmakers interact. The legislation would require more disclosure of meetings between lawmakers and lobbyists, curb privately funded travel, erect some barriers between government service and lobbying, and raise the cost of traveling on private jets. The legislation would also bar former Senators who have become lobbyists from visiting the Senate gym or the Senate floor.
In the wake of growing reports of official misconduct by members of congress ranging from House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s many misdeeds (here and here), to the travel irregularities of multiple other members, to the ongoing investigation of Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham regarding the sale of his home to a defense contractor, to the ongoing investigations of Jack Abramoff something must be done to better regulate and monitor Member relationships with lobbyists.
This is a good and needed reform that will help break the ties between special interest money and the legislative process.