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Tag Archive: Lobbying Disclosure Act

What Have they Got to Hide? Lawmakers Should Allow Meetings with Lobbyists to be Disclosed

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The sign for K Street, NW in DC - the home of lobbying in America.Recently, my colleague Lee Drutman concluded that banks met with regulators at the Federal Reserve, Treasury and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission more than five times as often as reform-minded consumer groups in the past two years.  His analysis provides a valuable tool for the media, academics and the public to better understand who is trying to shape financial industry regulations. His conclusions, and the follow up questions that can now be asked (Did the banks get what they wanted? Are consumers’ interests being served?) are only possible because the agencies posted information about the meetings online. Which begs the question: If the regulators can provide information about who is trying to influence the regulations they write, why doesn’t the public have access to similar information about meetings Members of Congress or their staff have with lobbyists?

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Robust Lobbying Disclosure Needed to Address Advantage of the 1% of the 1%

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1% of the 1% logo

In the 2012 election 28 percent of all disclosed political contributions came from just 31,385 people. In a nation of 313.85 million, these donors represent the 1% of the 1%, an elite class that increasingly serves as the gatekeepers of public office in the United States.

 
During the 2012 election cycle, a tiny percentage of lobbyists gave a combined $34.1 million in campaign contributions, putting them in elite company with the political 1% of the 1%, individuals who have given at least $12,950 each toward identifiable federal election activities. And while lobbyists’ donations made up only a small portion of the overall contributions from the political 1% of the 1%, their contributions might net the most bang for the buck. Lobbyists more often gave directly to candidates rather than to outside groups; and it is to those candidates—when they are elected—that the lobbyists turn when they need help. Shining the brightest light on lobbying activities will expose to the public where the levels of influence are and who is pulling them. Sunlight has developed a set of eight principles that form the foundation of a comprehensive lobbying disclosure regime.

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