Congressman Robert Hurt today released the following statement after introducing legislation that would protect taxpayers' dollars from being used by recipients of federal funds for lobbying activities:
"Since January 2011, the House of Representatives has been hard at work eliminating wasteful spending at the federal level. At a time when our national debt has reached $16 trillion, we must ensure that 5th District Virginians' taxpayer dollars are not spent wastefully, and we must especially make sure they are always allocated appropriately.
"While it is currently illegal to engage in lobbying activities with federal funds, recent reports have indicated that recipients of federal funding are circumventing the law and using grant money for taxpayer-funded lobbying campaigns. Among other things, these federal lobbying campaigns have gone as far as to limit the use of legal products and engagement in legal activities, such as the lawful consumption of a food product.
"At a time when our national debt exceeds the size of our economy, and when many in Washington are calling for higher taxes, it is critical that we put an end to this unacceptable abuse of tax-payer dollars. The No Taxpayer-Funded Lobbying Act will play an essential part in making sure that our hard-earned taxpayer dollars are not squandered for the benefit of special interests. This legislation will clearly define prohibited lobbying activities, require grantees to verify their understanding of the law, and compel recipients of federal funds to confirm that no lobbying activities will be carried out with these funds. On behalf of the people of the 5th District, we have introduced this legislation to hold the federal government accountable, not only for using tax dollars to promote a special interest agenda, but also for doing so while our nation is on the brink of a serious debt crisis."