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Opinion
Editorial: Lobbying reform shell game in Washington


"The political gods had to guffaw when Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania was designated by the Republicans to be their headlined champion in the current reform effort to rein in lobbying abuses. In truth, Mr. Santorum had long been the G.O.P.'s eager point man in courting the lobbyists of K Street. But in January, as the Jack Abramoff scandal nipped at Congress, Senator Santorum swore off further inner-sanctum sessions with lobbyists, just in time for his tight re-election fight.

Enter Capitol reality: As Congress drifts through a lobbying debate that leans toward cosmetic evasions, Mr. Santorum has been as avid as ever in wooing power lobbyists. The Washington Post reported that the senator had maintained his elite meetings with special-interest brokers.

The senator exemplifies the ultimate scandal in the reform debate: that the subversive money nexus between lawmakers' campaigns and opportunistic lobbyists is not even on the agenda. An honest run at the problem would stop lobbyists from bundling together maximum campaign donations from their clients. Many lawmakers have dropped any arm's length pretense and enlisted big-time lobbyists as formal treasurers for their political kitties."

Get the Story:
Lobbyist Reform as a Shell Game (The New York Times 3/22)
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Senate Lobbying Reform Bill:
Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2006 (S.2349) | Section-by-Section Summary

Other Lobbying Reform Bills:
Sen. McCain: Lobbying Transparency and Accountability Act of 2005 (S.2128) | Sen. McCain: Reducing Conflicts of Interests in the Representation of Indian Tribes Act of 2005 (S.1312)

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