Pelosi on Passage of Lobbying Reform: Democrats Are Changing the Way Washington Does Business'
Speaker Nancy Pelosi released the following statement this afternoon after the House voted overwhelmingly to pass a strong lobbying reform bill, H.R. 2316, Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, and a bundling bill, H.R. 2317, Lobbying Transparency Act:
"Last November, the American people spoke clearly for change in the way business is done in Washington. They demanded not just high ethical standards, but also transparency, disclosure, and accountability to make these standards effective.
"Led by our newest Members, House Democrats have acted to make this Congress the most honest and open Congress in history. On the first day of the 110th Congress, we passed a landmark rules package - the toughest ethics reform in history - that broke the link between lobbyists and legislators: no gifts, no private jets, and no meals from lobbyists.
"Today, the House took a significant step forward by shining sunlight on the interaction between lobbyists and legislators. The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act provides an unprecedented level of disclosure - both in quantity and quality - on the interactions between lobbyists and legislators.
"It doubles the level of reporting by lobbyists from two to four times a year. It expands the categories of reporting by lobbyists; it closes a loophole in current law that permits coalitions such as the one that funded the so-called Harry and Louise' health care ads to avoid disclosing their clients; and it requires lobbyists to disclose past executive and congressional employment. It provides additional measures to end the infamous K Street project. It increases criminal and civil penalties for violations of the Lobbying Disclosure Act.
"Lobbyists also have to certify that they did not give a gift or provide travel in violation of the rules of this House or the Senate. All of this information will be made available, in a searchable form, on the Internet, along with Member travel and personal financial disclosure records.
"Finally, in an improvement over current law, the legislation also requires members of Congress to immediately disclose any negotiations with future employers to the ethics committee, and to recuse themselves from any matters that might impact that employer and to make such recusal public.
"I am pleased that the House also adopted legislation on bundling, which I strongly supported, by Congressman Chris Van Hollen to provide better transparency for the role that lobbyists play in raising money in Washington.
"In the days ahead, we will propose the creation of an outside enforcement entity to ensure that Congress lives up to the highest ethical standard, and we will take a close look at our campaign finance laws to curb the influence of special-interest money on the political process.
"Honest leadership is not a partisan goal. It is the key to putting the interests of all Americans ahead of the special interests. House Democrats are leading the way to make the 110th Congress the most open and honest Congress in history. We are returning this House to the American people. We are changing the way Washington does business."