Thursday, June 05, 2014

Would People Still Run For Congress If They Couldn't Be Lobbyists Afterwards?


We often refer to certain prominent Members of Congress as "crooks" and bribe takers-- particularly Debbie Wasserman Schultz (New Dem-FL), Buck McKeon (R-CA), Steve Israel (Blue Dog-NY), and Joe Crowley (New Dem-NY). Wasserman Schultz, who's in debt to the tune of just over a million dollars, is the 3rd poorest Member of Congress and McKeon is the 4th poorest, with a gaggle of unemployable relatives dependent on him, a $943,000 debt and an unrivaled record of grotesque corruption. Israel, a classic failure in everything he's ever tried, is the 6th poorest member and owes close to $800,000 and has been involved with one crooked deal after another for his entire career. Crowley's the 8th poorest member and widely considered the most corrupt Democrat in Congress.

So, how can all these "poor," in-debt shlubbs be on the take on the one hand and living in cardboard boxes on the other hand. Well, they are all certainly on the take… but none of them lives in a cardboard box. In fact, they all live fair better than most of their constituents. And they all have bright futures ahead as lobbyists-- they hope. Especially McKeon, who's giving up his House seat so he can collect on the financial favors the arms manufacturers and military contractors owe him for the billions of dollars he's sent their way as Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. But not if a group of good-government reformers get their way. How would you like to see a lifetime ban on ex-Members of Congress lobbying? ALthough current law allows senators to become lobbyists two years after leaving office and House Members only have to wait a year, Michael Bennet (D-CO) and John Tester (D-MT) introduced a bill that would extend that wait period.. to forever. Cristina Marcos:
Washington lobbyists shouldn’t be allowed to hold more sway than the folks back home in Colorado and around the country. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the way things happen around this place," Bennet said.

Bennet, the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Tester, who represents a swing state, said the measure would limit lobbying influence on American politics.

"Slamming shut the revolving door between lawmakers and lobbyists will let folks know that Congress puts constituents first and will make government more accountable to the American people," Tester said.

A Center for Responsive Politics study found that more than half of currently employed former members of the last session of Congress now work at lobbying firms or as lobbying clients.

The legislation would further impose limits on congressional staff by preventing them from lobbying current members of Congress for six years after they leave Capitol Hill to become lobbyists, instead of the current one year.

Additionally, it would close a loophole in lobbying law by requiring firms to disclose work by consultants who are former members of Congress or senior congressional staff.

Bennet and Tester filed a similar measure as an amendment to the 2012 STOCK ("Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge") Act, which bans lawmakers from insider trading, but it was not adopted.

Congress has typically not enacted ethics or lobbying reform legislation unless a major scandal adds momentum. At present, Bennet and Tester's bill is not expected to receive legislative action.
But… but… but, Democrats control the Senate.

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At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Sue said...

What about their staffers?


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