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Issue Position: Truth in Authorship

Issue Position

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Writing a bill is a complicated process. Not just getting members of Congress to co-sponsor it. Not just negotiating the broad terms of agreement to accommodate different points of view. But the actual writing, getting down on paper specific details. This is not done by the individual Congress member but by his or her staff. Sometimes by outsiders. Oftentimes by lobbyists or those with special interests. And there's no way of telling who put in the words.

I would like to know the names and affiliations of those people. I would like to see, on the record, who is responsible for that paragraph about the use of federal lands. Or the exemptions specified in the amendments to the Clean Water Act.

My proposal is to require that lobbyists and special-interest groups--all those not on a congressional staff--publicly reveal their participation in writing bills and regulations. Right down to the individual sub-section and paragraph. I call it "Truth-in-Authorship." It's another way of protecting the middle class from the duplicitous mischief of corporations. Their goal, after all, is to take as big a slice of the financial pie as they can. Sometimes with well-crafted words in the middle of a bill.


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