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Tag Archive: Independent Oversight

Senate Nears Lobbying Reform; Rejects Independent Ethics Oversight:

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The Associated Press reports that, “senators are likely to give wide approval to the legislation that bans accepting meals from lobbyists, requires pre-approval of privately funded trips and slows the movement by retiring lawmakers to jobs as lobbyists,” in a vote that could come today. Government watchdog groups are unhappy, however, because the Senate rejected in a 67-30 vote an amendment to the bill that would create an independent ethics oversight office, according to the Washington Post. Today’s blogs also weighed in on the story. The Copeland Institute for Lower Learning provides a run-down of how senators voted. According to Captain’s Quarters, the Senate did approve an amendment proposed by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) that eliminates that practice of placing anonymous holds on legislation. Captain Ed, while praising the Wyden-Grassley amendment, pans the rest of the reform legislation, “Unfortunately, the rest of the bill looks like more warmed-over platitudes towards reform than the real item. The Senate soundly rejected a new independent ethics office and has moved to place most of the burden for reform on the lobbyists rather than themselves.”

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In Other News:

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Today is the deadline for lawmakers to turn in their earmarks requests to Appropriation subcommittees. The Hill reports that, in a bid to hold off earmark reform, Appropriations subcommittee chairmen are self-policing by “limiting their colleagues to 10 project requests each.” … Two more lawmakers signed onto the plan to create an Office of Public Integrity, according to Roll Call. Reps. Greg Walden (R-OR) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) both want to see the independent oversight office created with Walden stating, “When it comes down to it, we simply don’t have the time or — frankly — the objectivity to provide the necessary oversight of our colleagues.” … The Alaska Daily News reports that the Alaska House passed legislation that would allow lawmakers “to solicit contributions from lobbyists for certain charity events, and make legal a longtime tradition”. … Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA) “signed an executive order yesterday requiring lobbyists who seek to influence the executive branch to register and report expenses for the first time since the state's lobbying law was overturned in 2002,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. … The Arkansas News Bureau looks at how Arkansas companies lobby lawmakers in Washington with private jet travel. The article takes as an example the cozy relationship between Tyson Foods and House agriculture subcommittee chairman Henry Bonilla (R-TX).

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