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Opinion
WSJ: Lobbying reform an assault on Americans


"Democrats and liberal watchdog groups have criticized the ethics legislation that passed the House on Wednesday as "watered down." We agree it's ridiculous, but for a different reason: The real problem is that these reforms are tougher on Americans who want to influence Members of Congress than they are on the Members themselves.

One of the more egregious proposals would limit campaign giving by reducing individual donations to so-called 527 political advocacy groups. This assault on political speech has nothing to do with ethics and would only make it harder for voters to assemble to influence their representatives. This kind of "campaign-finance reform" is always sold as high-mindedness but is really designed to insulate Members from political accountability.

Real ethics reform would mean limiting the vast discretionary power that Congress is accruing with each passing year, building ever more opportunities for corruption. But instead of addressing the Beltway practices that allow the likes of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff to thrive, Congress is on course to do little more than create additional paperwork for private citizens who exercise their First Amendment right to petition the government."

Get the Story:
Review & Outlook: Cleaning House? (The Wall Street Journal 5/5)

House Reform Bill:
Lobbying Accountability and Transparency Act (H.R.4975)

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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