New Lobbying Law Falls Short on Reform
requires lobbyists to disclose more information about their interactions with lawmakers, but there’s little increase in the enforcement of ethics laws.
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The Senate voted yesterday to require lobbyists to provide far more information about their dealings with lawmakers, responding to the Jack Abramoff political corruption scandal with a plan for more disclosure rather than tougher enforcement of ethics laws.
By a vote of 90 to 8, the Senate approved a bill that would also force the disclosure for the first time of indirect lobbying, such as grass-roots activities, and prevent registered lobbyists from paying for lawmakers’ meals or giving them gifts such as sports tickets. Congressional leaders had promised far-ranging revisions of lobbying activities after Abramoff pleaded guilty in January to conspiring to bribe public officials. But the legislation that emerged yesterday is less sweeping than GOP leaders envisioned.
“This legislation contains very serious reform,” said Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), one of the architects of the Senate bill. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who also wrote large portions of the measure, said the bill goes a long way toward restoring “the bonds of trust with our constituents [that have been] frayed.”
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