After the Jack Abramoff scandal, Congress passed the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 which required lobbyists who “bundle” (collect checks on behalf of a candidate) $16, 000 or more for a candidate to disclose that information. Lobbyists have found creative ways around this, like holding events for multiple candidates at the same time to avoid reporting requirements. In addition, the burden to report this information falls on the campaign, not the lobbyist. This system must be changed. I will support legislation that requires the following:
Federal lobbyists should have to report every single donation they played a part in, regardless of the amount
State lobbyists and unregistered employees of firms that employ lobbyists should have the same requirements when giving to federal candidates
Campaigns should have to report all bundling no matter the source
Prevent Donations by Lobbyist and PACs While Congress is in Session
When Congress is in session, members should be doing the people’s business, not raising money from special interests. This is not the case today. In fact, Congressional Democrats recommend their members spend four hours a day fundraising when they are in Washington.
Right now, a Member of Congress can be handed a check by a lobbyist as he or she is walking from their office to the Capitol. Alternatively, a lobbyist can hold the check until after the vote. Even the current Speaker of the House has admitted to giving members campaign cash on the House floor. As Bloomberg News reported, “Boehner handed out campaign checks from the tobacco industry to members on the House floor at a time when lawmakers were considering eliminating a tobacco subsidy.”
This is deeply corrupt — essentially legalized bribery — and why 29 states currently ban lobbyists from donating during legislative sessions. I will support legislation that bans members of Congress from accepting donations from PACs or lobbyists while Congress is in session.
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