So Much for the Cleanest Congress in History

Those screwy Democrats – not much good news on the lobbying reform front.

While the Democratic leadership and freshmen Dems clearly want some substantial lobbying and ethics reform legislation, the "old bulls" in the Democratic caucus do not want business-as-usual to change much. These are the members who have been around Congress for 10 or 20 years and now dominate chairs on various committees.

The old bulls made it clear earlier that they would join Republicans and defeat the entire bill. So, leadership worked out a deal this morning: that all the revolving door provisions, including the simple extending the cooling off period from one year to two years, would be removed from the bill, if they would support an amendment to disclose campaign bundling by lobbyists along with the base disclosure bill. That deal went though. It means that the floor rule will be designed to prohibit introduction of the revolving door amendment I had been working on.

Following that deal, Democrats overwhelming defeated amendments to disclose grassroots lobbying, and to prohibit lobbyists from organizing and paying for convention parties and other events honoring Members.

The Republican caucus is quite happy with the bill so far, with Lamar Smith (R-Texas) pointing out that it resembles the lobbying reform bill the Republicans approved in the 109th Congress (but which perished in conference) – and which we denounced as "warm spit."

Not a very impressive performance by a Democratic caucus that promised to make this Congress "the cleanest in history."