Yesterday, Representatives Loebsack, Quigley and Renacci sent a Dear Colleague to their colleagues asking them to cosponsor HR 2860, the bipartisan Deficit Committee Transparency Act, an important bill that would ensure special influence efforts to influence the vital work of the Super Committee is transparent.
Supporters of transparency should call their members of Congress and ask them to support the bill. The twelve members of the Super Committee members have super powers to decide how to cut $1.5 trillion from the federal budget. They are already under tremendous pressure from lobbyists and big donors who are asking them to spare their own special interest from the chopping block.
But, while the work and the pressure is going on, the public is left in the dark. Campaign finance and lobbying disclosure reports won’t be made public until after the super committee has completed its work, too late for the rest of us to know who is putting the pressure on super committee members.
That’s why the Deficit Committee Transparency Act is so important. It would mandate disclosure of meetings with lobbyists and special interests between committee members and staff 48 hours after the meeting; require the disclosure in advance of any meetings that occur within 48 hours of the Committee’s November 23rd vote on its recommendations; and require disclosure of lobbyist and special interest contributions within 48 hours. All disclosures would be made on the committee’s website, so the public would have easy access to efforts to influence committee members.
Transparency is critical to counteract the tools special interests will use to get their way from the Super Committee, and The Deficit Committee Transparency Act is the best way to ensure transparency.