Senate Democrats

Government Watchdog Groups Praise Democratic Ethics Reform Bill

Democrats are championing the most sweeping ethics and lobbying reforms in generations. This week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senators Dianne Feinstein and Joe Lieberman announced final agreement with the House on the text of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (PDF file).  This bicameral agreement contains the most sweeping ethics and lobbying reforms in generations. The bill is being praised by leading ehics and reform organizations.

Here are some sample comments:  

Democracy 21 – “The lobbying disclosure reforms will provide a sea change for citizens in the information made available to the public about how lobbyists and lobbying organizations provide campaign contributions and various other forms of financial support to assist members of Congress. For the first time, citizens will be able to get a full picture on how lobbyists and lobbying organizations use money in Washington, D.C. to gain access and influence in Congress.” [Statement by Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer, 7/30/07]

Common Cause – “Significant reforms in this bill should change the way business is done in Washington by shining the light on the often mutually dependent relationships between lobbyists and members of Congress, and how money is raised and spent on Capitol Hill.” [Common Cause Press Release, 7/31/07]

Campaign Legal Center – “The proposal officially unveiled today makes good on the promises of greater transparency from the new leadership. The work will not be done until the law is on the books, but this proposal should break the logjam while delivering substantive and much needed change.” [Statement by Campaign Legal Center President Meredith McGehee, 7/30/07]

League of Women Voters – “For the first time, Congress is requiring disclosure of big-dollar bundling by lobbyists—a key element for truly reforming the way business is done in Washington. A vote against this bill would be a vote for ‘corruption as usual.’” [Statement by League of Women Voters President Mary G. Wilson, 7/30/07]

Public Citizen – “Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid demonstrated leadership and a strong commitment to reform in their clever end-run around roadblocks. The bill includes new measures to enhance the transparency of government, including disclosure of campaign fundraising by lobbyists.” [Statement by Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Director Laura MacCleery, 7/30/07]

In addition to the above statements, leaders from six leading watchdog groups drafted a letter to members of Congress in urging them to support the measure.

In the letter, the groups wrote:

“Under the legislation, for the first time citizens will be provided with a wealth of information about the multiple ways in which lobbyists and lobbying organizations provide financial support to assist Members. For the first time, candidate campaign committees, leadership PACs and political party committees will be required to disclose the “bundled” contributions raised for them by lobbyists and lobbying organizations.”

To view the complete letter click here.