Pelosi Statement on Judiciary Committee Passage of Strong Lobbying Reform Bill
Speaker Nancy Pelosi today applauded the House Judiciary Committee's passage of the Honest Leadership, Open Government Act of 2007, tough legislation to end the culture of corruption and restore accountability in Washington. The bill, which will be voted on by the full House next week, ends the tight-knit relationship between lobbyists and lawmakers.
"We told the American people that Democrats would 'drain the swamp' and change the way business is done in Washington," said Speaker Pelosi. "In the first 100 hours of the 110th Congress, we restored accountability by imposing the toughest ethics standards ever: no gifts, no private jets, and no meals from lobbyists.
"The lobbying reform bill approved by the Judiciary Committee today fulfills our promise to the American people to make the 110th Congress the most open, honest Congress in history."
The Honest Leadership, Open Government Act of 2007:
·Increases disclosure of lobbyists' contributions to lawmakers, including contributions to Members' charities, to events or entities honoring members, contributions intended to pay the cost of a meeting or a retreat, and contributions disclosed under Federal Election Campaign Act relating to reports by conduits.
·Doubles the Disclosure of Lobbyists' Reports to four times a year.
·Establishes an online, searchable public database of lobbyist disclosure information.
·Establishes an online, searchable public database of Member travel and personal financial disclosure forms.
·Requires sitting Members to disclose job negotiations for post-Congressional employment by recusing themselves for purposes of a conflict of interest.
·Increases penalties for violation of the Lobby Disclosure Act.
·Requires Members prohibit their staff from having any official contact with that individual's spouse on behalf of the spouse's client if that individual's spouse is a lobbyist.
·Closes a loophole in current law that permits coalitions such as the one that funded the extensive "Harry and Louise" ad campaign that targeted health care legislation in 1993-94 - to avoid disclosing their clients.
·Requires lobbyists to disclose past Executive and Congressional employment.
·Bans the K Street Project, which prohibits private entities from hiring and firing based on politics.
Pelosi also supports including in the Honest Leadership, Open Government Act an amendment that would require lobbyists who "bundle," or collect and deliver campaign checks to Members of Congress, to meet strict reporting and disclosure guidelines.
The Honest Leadership, Open Government Act of 2007 and the Congressional ethics reforms enacted in the first 100 hours of this Congress are significant steps forward in cleaning up the culture of corruption that has plagued Washington, D.C. On the first day of this new Congress, the House passed rules to ban gifts and travel from lobbyists to Members of Congress, and end the abuses connected to privately-funded congressional travel. The House has also passed a critical measure (H.R. 476) to deny taxpayer-funded pension benefits to House members convicted of corruption while serving the American people.