Sunday, January 07, 2007

Congressional Reform?

Looks like the Dems are pushing the window dressing on lobbiest reforms. Wonder what happened with the earmark reform that they spoke of at one point.
“It sends a very mixed message to be on one hand saying that they're clamping down on lobbyists, but then raising money from those very same lobbyists that they say are part of the problem,” says David Donnelly, an ethics reform advocate with Public Action Campaign Fund.

Democrats did get the new House to ban members from taking any gifts, meals or trips from lobbyists — which reform groups call an important first step.

But most reformers say those are not the most important tools lobbyist use to influence Congress.

“Lobbyists are most valuable to Congress by raising significant amounts of money for their re-election campaign,” says Donnelly.

And neither party is doing anything to crack down on campaign money lobbyists give and raise. In fact, under the new rules, lobbyists can still wine and dine members of Congress as long as it's a campaign fundraiser.

Some lobbyists say that politicians who trash lobbyists are hypocritical.

“If you want to bash me in the press, bash me in the press, but don't call me the next day and ask for money,” says Paul Miller, president of the American League of Lobbyists.

Tell me how this is better than what the Repubs did? Another complete failure to address the real cause of corruption. Of course the MSM will give them huge credit for making reforms and ignore that the reforms made will be fairly worthless.

Then there is the term limits for the House Committee chairmanships.
During four decades of Democratic rule ending in 1994, committee chairmen amassed almost unchallenged authority, often becoming more feared and influential than the elected leadership. They were nearly impossible to budge from their perches, and the concept of term limits was unimaginable. In a move that caught some new Democratic chairmen by surprise, House rules pushed through by the Democrats this week retained the six-year limit on chairmen imposed by Republicans, but the leadership reassured lawmakers they would revisit the restrictions when there was less attention focused on the dawn of the Democratic era.
Leaving the term limit in place was a good thing, but then giving assurances that they'll revisit that rule is pretty lame. I would like to know the quote that this is taken from, since this doesn't attribute this decision to anyone, so strikes me as a bit thin. Not that I doubt that is exactly how they will go about it.

Looks like the more things change the more they stay the same.

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