It's been nearly two weeks since President Obama announced new rules to cover lobbying for stimulus funds and each passing day provides new examples of why these new disclosure rules are so important. Today, the Washington Post notes the explosion in some sectors of the lobbying sector, particularly around those seeking stimulus funds:
The $787 billion stimulus package -- along with an ambitious new federal budget, bank bailouts and the beginning of a regulatory overhaul -- has succeeded in stimulating the economy along Washington's avenue of influence. In the months since the November election, more than 2,000 cities, companies and associations have hired lobbyists to help them push their agendas on Capitol Hill and at the White House, easily outpacing such numbers after the previous two elections, according to disclosure records.
The need for full disclosure of the contacts by this new crop of lobbyists is essential to prevent fraud, waste, and corruption. (Just look at what can happen when lobbyists are grabbing at piles of money.) Hopefully, the administration's rules come into full relief shortly. For a full run-down on the new rules and how they change the current structure of lobbying disclosure, read this post from last week.