Just saw this in the afternoon chat with Washington Post correspondent Jeff Birnbaum:
Hyattsville, Md.: Good afternoon. I’ve been following the latest ethics reform bills, and one thing has struck me.Although the proposal bans registered lobbyists from picking up law makers tabs, it allows corporations to do so.
This seems like a loophole big enough to drive an 18 wheeler through. What would stop a corporation from just giving a lobbyist a credit card, instead of having the lobbyist bill after the fact?
To me it seems that it’s just another case of congress pretending to make major reforms, when actually doing nothing.
Jeffrey Birnbaum: You’ve caught one of many loopholes.
Labor union or corporate execs could still pick up the tabs even if the Senate passed version of the ethics bills is enacted.
The ethics legislation is more notable, in fact, for what it does not include than for what it does include.
Lawmakers are not hearing from the constituents that a sweeping overhaul is needed and, as a result, lawmakers are not planning to provide them with one.