As of July 30 lobbyists will have to report some interesting new information: any campaign contributions, including those from a political action committee controlled by the lobbyist or organization; honorary expenses linked to lawmakers; expenses for meetings involving lawmakers; and donations to presidential libraries. The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 required this new disclosure that lobbyists will file twice a year, with the first deadline being July 30th. The new forms, LD-203, are here. The Center for Responsive Politics says they plan to capture all these reports. Should be some interesting material in these new reports.
But I was struck by the lack of timeliness of these new reports. Being filed only twice a year raises the question: how much transparency will these forms actually provide? With all the online tools we have access to today, why not have instantaneous disclosure? Why wait six months, when the money changing hands is affecting legislation being written today? It seems to me that this new requirement will give us some more information about the role of the power lobbyist, it does little to deal with the most critical problem – the timeliness of reporting.