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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

 

Speaker Hastert's Game Plan for Lobbying Reform - Wide Loopholes

Cosmetic Changes Will Not Curb Abuses
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House Republican leaders scrambling to introduce measures to impose restrictions on the relationships between members and lobbyists. Initial reports indicate that the proposed steps will fall far short of meaningful impact. Their actions are largely part of a PR campaign to make themselves look good before the mid-term elections. "According to lobbyists and ethics experts, even if Hastert's proposal is enacted, members of Congress and their staffs could still travel the world on an interest group's expense and eat steak on a lobbyist's account at the priciest restaurants in Washington." Would the American voters be taken in by the farce ? No doubt some will. The Abramoff scandal has mostly tainted Republican members of Congress but it is a well-known fact that not all Democrats remain above the grasp of lobbyists. Real reform will require taking a deep look at campaign finance laws. There isn't much support for that among the elected representative, certainly not among Republicans.

Excerpts from Jeffrey Birnbaum's article in the Post:

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“Corruption is like a ball of snow, once it's set a rolling it must increase.”
---Charles Caleb Colton (English sportsman and writer, 1780-1832)

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