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Abramoff Scandal
Opinion: Lobbying reforms won't reform lobbying

"In a meeting with top Republican lawmakers in November, the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, decided to make lobbying reform a priority for 2006. As leadership decisions go, it was a no-brainer: everyone in the room knew that the Jack Abramoff scandal was festering, and that the issue of corrupt lobbyists was not going away. So Senator Frist asked Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania to take charge of the issue, in an effort to align the party with the cause of reform and avoid beingcaught in a defensive crouch.

So far, the leadership's reform proposal is little more than a laundry list of ideas. That puts Messrs Frist and Santorum far behind their fellow Republican senator, John McCain, and several Democrats - Senator Russell Feingold and Representatives Marty Meehan and Rahm Emmanuel - who have proposals of their own. Maybe Senator Frist's idea will work, politically. Undoubtedly it will put Republicans on the side of those good-government calls for reform that are likely to grow louder and louder in the weeks to come. But will lobbying reform actually reform lobbying? Not much."

Get the Story:
Byron York: Money Always Finds a Way (The New York Times 1/6)

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