The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Sunday, April 10, 2005

Regulators of Congressional lobbyists don't try too hard

And why would that be? A Center for Public Integrity (have they found any recently?) piece on lobbying supplies a clue:
The offices that track lobbyist disclosure, the Legislative Resource Center of the House of Representatives and the Senate Office of Public Records, lack adequate staff to monitor the forms submitted to the House and Senate. Neither office has staff dedicated to ensuring compliance with the law.

In 1993, the chairman of the FEC wrote the House Judiciary Subcommittee to ask that his agency be put in charge of all lobbying disclosure. "All these functional activities are requirements of regulating campaign finance and we already have developed the type of staff expertise, procedures, physical plant and information technology necessary," FEC Chairman Scott Thomas wrote in addressing pending legislation. Two years later, when the Lobbying Disclosure Act was enacted, Congress decided to keep lobbying disclosure within its purview.

In 1993, of course, the Congress was safely in Democratic hands. By 1995, thanks largely to racial gerrymandering mandated by the Voting Rights Act (of which more later), the GOP were in charge of the House - and had snaffled the Senate, too.

But, on efficient regulation of lobbying, there was consensus: both parties were against. Keep the process in house - and no one need be embarrassed.

Suppose, thanks to voters' revulsion at the Republicans' Schiavo/filibuster hi-jinks, control of Congress returns to the Dems: how high up on their to-do list will reforming lobbying regulation come, I wonder? No, I don't, actually...

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