Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lobbying is much more difficult to control than Obama administration thought


President Obama’s efforts to reduce the effects of lobbying are being questioned, as lobbyists keep finding workarounds, so the snow keeps coming. That’s the message of a major story today on p A3 of the Feb. 14 Washington Post by Dan Eggen, “Success of lobbying crackdown questioned: Obama steps up efforts: But spending reached record levels in 2009,” link here.

Obama tried to close registration loop-holes for part-time lobbyists, require public disclosure of all lobbying contracts, and control money that lobbyists can donate. But many workarounds remain, such as Tom Daschle, who did not have to register because he spends less than 20% of his time lobbying.

The recent Supreme Court ruling undercutting much of McCain-Feingold also complicates regulating lobbying.

The Lobbying Database at the Center for Responsible Politics (“Open Source”) is here.

Check also the Campaign Finance Reform section of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, link here.

The link for CREW, the Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington is here.

On the other side of the ledger, look at the Code of Ethics for the American League of Lobbyists, link here.

When you’re a lobbyist, you’re paid to advocate someone else’s point of view. You can no longer speak your own mind on public blogs. That’s a “conflict of interest”.

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