Senate Passes Lobbying Reform Legislation

Late last night, the U.S. Senate has passed major lobbying reform legislation, which Senator Collins voted in support of. The bill included a number of provisions that were included in the lobbying reform legislation authored last year by Senators Collins and Lieberman and that were approved in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Senator Collins voted in support of the bill and released this statement:

“While I am disappointed that the Senate did not approve the Office of Public Integrity amendment that Senator Joe Lieberman and I proposed, this bill includes a number of reforms that should help to restore public confidence in the integrity of the decisions the Senate makes. The bill bans gifts from lobbyists, increases disclosure requirements, and reforms the earmarks process — all much-needed improvements in our ethics system.”

Highlights of the legislation are as follows:

• It bans gifts and travel provided by lobbyists and organizations that hire lobbyists.

• Strengthens disclosure requirements of lobbying activities and makes disclosure reports more accessible to the American public via the Internet.

• Heightens disclosure of earmarks in legislation and provides for new procedural tools so that lawmakers can later remove unnecessary, wasteful earmarks from spending bills.

• It slows the revolving door through which Members and staffers leave Congress and immediately benefit from lobbying their former colleagues.

• Provisions to ensure that the ability of organizations to encourage grassroots lobbying is protected