“Reform” Bill Passed:
The "business as usual" lobbying and ethics reform just passed the House 217-213. Think Progress tells us what is not in the bill:
– No Restrictions on Lavish Gifts: Current gift limits will remain unchanged.
– No Ban Free Exotic Trips: Lawmakers will still be able to accept lavish privately-funded trips from lobbyists.
– No Increase in Lobbyist Transparency: Lobbyists can continue to pay $25,000 or $50,000 for a campaign fundraiser, with no oversight.
– No Ethics Training for Members: Ethics training will be mandatory for all congressional staff, but not for members.
– No Revolving Door Slow-Down: A companion piece of legislation to the lobbying bill would require administration officials to wait at least two years after they leave office before becoming lobbyists. But there is no legislation to create a similar two-year waiting period for lawmakers.
– No Grassroots Lobbying Regulation: There are no disclosure rules “for professional lobbying firms that are retained to spend money on campaigns aimed at stimulating the public to lobby Congress, including multimillion dollar advertising campaigns.”
– No Enforcement of Existing Rules: The bill “includes no mechanism for enforcing and monitoring old and new rules.”
This bill is truly an embarrassment to the notion of reform.