Reform Deform:


There’s more today on the passage of the lobbying and ethics “reform” that narrowly passed the House yesterday. The bill, which has been significantly watered down (or drowned), must now go to a conference committee to be reconciled with the Senate version of reform. According to the Washington Post this could cause some confusion:

The final version of the legislation will be a combination of statutory changes and changes in the rules governing House and Senate members, but not all the rules need apply to both chambers. Rules that govern the gifts and travel expenses that lobbyists are allowed to give to lawmakers can be different for the House and for the Senate. Each chamber is responsible for setting the rules for the conduct of its lawmakers and staff members. … Still, if rule changes remain different for each chamber in the final version that becomes law, said Donald Simon, a campaign-finance expert, “it’s going to complicate life for lobbyists and probably cause some confusion.”

Not only could the final bill result in mass confusion among lobbyists, but the bill’s themselves, and the House bill in particular, are devoid of meaningful reform. Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) questioned his own Majority Leader’s commitment to reform in the New York Times, “This is not John Boehner’s forte … This is not something he believes in.” Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) denounced the bill, “We are cleaning up Congress the way teenagers clean up their bedrooms.” Meanwhile the Washington Times writes that the “earmark reform” “fell short of the reforms embraced by some conservatives.”