Editorial: Political and ethical reform in Washington

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week had to drag Democrats who were kicking and screaming behind the scenes to vote for new requirements on lobbyists. She prevailed and then was joined by smirking House Republicans who helped pass a tighter measure that also covered political action committees. This is all about raising money to stay in office and build enough support to hang onto power. Abramoff was a product of a long Republican reign. Give the Democrats time to get in trouble themselves.

The new rules primarily focus on disclosure, and they go to the fundamental tool of the political craft, money. Federal law already limits individual campaign contributions to $2,300 per election. Lobbyists could earn the gratitude of lawmakers by gathering together lots of individual donations. These bundles of money could be huge, and they were efficient.

Lobbyists will now have to report their bundling activities. They will also have to do quarterly reports on gift-giving and wining and dining of officials. Penalties for failing to report got stiffer. Bundling worked well for both Rs and Ds, and the reform-spouting Democrats did not have their heart in these changes.

The GOP got in their own little jab by requiring political action committees to meet the same rules. Democrats could hardly object."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Jack flipped this House (The Seattle Times 5/30)

Lobbying Reform Bills:
Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (H.R.2316) | Lobbying Transparency Act (H.R.2317)

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