Cline, Phillips introduce bipartisan bill to bring greater transparency to lobbying industry
Congressmen Ben Cline (VA-06) and Dean Phillips (MN-03) introduced H.R. 8022 – the Lobbying Disclosure Reform Act, which will promote greater transparency within the lobbying industry.
When initially passed in 1995, the Lobbying Disclosure Act sought to bring about greater accountability among special interest groups and required lobbyists to register with both the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate.
While the LDA has served its purpose well for the past twenty-five years, the law has not been updated in more than a decade. Therefore, to meet the needs of current practices in Washington, the Lobbying Disclosure Reform Act is necessary.
H.R. 8022 updates lobbying laws and closes loopholes often used to take advantage of the system. The legislation clarifies reporting thresholds, widens the scope of who must register as a lobbyist, moves enforcement of lobbying laws from the U.S. Attorney for D.C. to the Attorney General, and includes various other transparency-increasing measures.
“At the core of this bipartisan bill is the public’s right to know,” Cline said. “Americans are dissatisfied with the way things get done in Washington, and updating the LDA with these common-sense provisions is a strong step to modernizing our lobbying laws and placing more power in the hands of the people rather than the lobbyists.”
“I am on a mission to restore Americans’ faith in our government, which begins with reducing the corrupting influence of special interest money in our political system,” Phillips said. “Lobbyists spent nearly $3.5 billion to influence our elected leaders last year. As the Congress continues to grapple with the response to the COVID-19 crisis, spending trillions of taxpayer dollars in the process, our constituents deserve know which interests are in the room.”
This legislation is the second in a series of bipartisan reform bills that Cline and Phillips intend to introduce together over the next several weeks.
Last week, the congressmen introduced H.R. 7949 – the SMART Government Act.