Wednesday, January 18, 2006
As Jeffrey Birnbaum reports in the Washington Post, the lobbying reform package proposed by House Speaker Hastert in the wake of Hurricane Abramoff leaves a gaping loophole through which lobbyists can still buy access and influence with members of Congress - campaign fundraising.
This probably comes as no surprise to anyone who has witnessed how a politician's eyes will light up and wallet say howdy to campaign contributions. You gotta drag meaningful campaign reform out of these guys. Not the first proposal, not the second, nor the third or twelfth are likely to do anything meaningful to make our elections more fair.
But, that being said, neither will banning campaign contributions from lobbyists. As the massive amounts of money spent by Abramoff's tribal clients demonstrates, it's the wealthy interests behind the lobbyists that carry the financial clout that the pols so desperately crave. For any real good to come out of the Abramoff scandal, the American public will have to demand that their representatives pass reform that actually makes our government more representative of the rest of us, and less so of the Abramoffs and wealthy interests of the world.
If you want to write your Congressman to express your opinion, check out our citizens toolbox for the necessary info.