Lobbying Bill Vote Underway
Update: Lobbying bill passes!
Following up on their promise to pass an ethics and lobbying reform bill before the Memorial Day recess the Democratic majority brought the bill to the floor today. Voting on amendments to the bill is still underway but there have been some developments that already buck against the growing press accounts bemoaning the slow pace of the bill's passage. Despite supposed opposition from some Democrats the Chris Van Hollen sponsored lobbyist bundling disclosure bill passed by a wide margin, 382-37. The bill was strengthened further by a Republican measure, supported by freshman Democrats, that requires PACs to disclose bundled contributions as well.
Also passing the House were amendments from Mike Castle and Dennis Cardoza. The Castle amendment states that it is the sense of the House that the use of a family relationship by a lobbyist who is an immediate family member of a Member of Congress is inappropriate. The Cardoza amendment would allow judges to increase the sentence of public officials covicted of bribery, fraud, extortion or theft of public funds greater than $10,000. There are over 40 more amendments that will be voted on this afternoon and evening. Considering the outcome of the bundling bill the underlying lobbying and ethics reform bill should pass overwhelmingly.