Dr. Coburn Votes Against Lobbying Reform Bill
U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) released the following statement today after voting against lobbying reform legislation. The bill passed by a vote of 90 to 8.
"Keeping serious pork reform out of this lobbying reform bill was like removing alcohol from the agenda of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Earmark abuse was at the center of the Jack Abramoff and Duke Cunningham scandals yet the Senate failed to clamp down on what Abramoff described as the 'earmark favor factory' in Congress. This bill will not change how members of Congress and lobbyists interact. In fact, by rejecting an amendment by Senator John Ensign (R-NV) that would have given Senators greater power to block egregious earmarks the Senate voted to protect business as usual," Dr. Coburn said.
"In the wake of the Abramoff and Cunningham scandals Congress could have crafted serious reform legislation. Unfortunately, the Senate put public relations ahead of real reform and chose to wash the outside of the cup while leaving the inside filthy. The problem in Washington is not lobbyists; the problem is Congress," Dr. Coburn said.
"Since the Senate has decided earmark reform is not a priority in the context of lobbying reform I am convinced that the American people, now more than ever, deserve an extended and thorough debate on each individual earmark or pork project Senators propose this year. Earmarks are a gateway drug that leads to spending addictions and the excesses revealed by the Abramoff and Cunningham scandals. Debating each and every earmark will help give the American people the honest reform debate they deserve," Dr. Coburn said.