This past week the House finally passed the long-awaited lobbying reform bill. After months of wrangling, significant reforms in the relationship between lobbyists and Congress passed overwhelmingly.
Check out Craig Holman’s excellent piece in The Politico. Here’s what Craig has to say about those who fought the reforms:
The curmudgeons were those in the middle layer of the caucus – folks who have been around Capitol Hill for 10 or 20 years. Members such as Reps. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), Allen Boyd (D-Fla.) and Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.) railed against the reforms. These lawmakers have close fundraising relationships with the lobbying corps and perhaps also are eyeing million-dollar lobbying jobs in the near future. Hastings, now serving his eighth term, scoffed at the reformers, who “want Congress to be in sackcloth and ashes.”
The old bulls’ opposition was so vocal that Democratic leaders continued to water down the bill to buy their votes. In the most tragic cut of all, a back-room deal was worked out to strip the reform bill of its revolving door restrictions in exchange for a vote to send the measure to the floor. But Abercrombie et al. still continued to decry other provisions, such as the bundling disclosure, threatening to kill the measure on the floor.
Though these guys still voted against the reform bill, they were about the only ones. The measure passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 396-22.
This is a hard-won victory that we share with our allies in the House, our coalition partners, the voices of reason in the media and blogosphere, and most of all, with our very committed activists.
Now let’s make sure the members of the conference committee don’t shred these reforms when joining the Senate and House versions of the bills.