Committee Approves GOP Lobbying Reforms
The House Judiciary Committee today passed a lobbying reform bill similar to legislation Republicans passed on the House floor last year.
"The public wants and deserves open and honest government," asserted Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-TX). "For the first time since Democrats took control of Congress, we will finally vote on a lobbying reform bill."
"If the bill seems familiar, it is," Smith stated. "It is largely the same as the lobby disclosure provisions reported out of the Republican-led Judiciary Committee last Congress."
Smith quoted Mark Twain saying, "Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. So Republicans should feel complimented."
Virtually all of the provisions in today's bill were in the Republican bill passed by the House last Congress, including disclosure of Members' private-sector employment negotiations, prohibition of threats by Members to influence private-sector employment, the creation of a public lobbying database with increased frequency of lobbying disclosure, and increased penalties for lobbyist disclosure violations.
Last year's Republican bill went further by including a moratorium on privately funded travel. It also required lobbyists to report their expenses more precisely.
"I am pleased Democrats are supporting many of our original recommendations," Smith asserted. "This bill will make for more open and more responsive government."