Senator Susan Collins today joined Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) and Representatives Chris Shays (R-CT) and Marty Meehan (D-MA) in a press conference on Capitol Hill to renew their commitment to meaningful lobbying reform. Last year, Senators Collins and Lieberman authored lobbying reform legislation that was approved by the Senate, but later stalled in a House-Senate negotiating committee. The bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives called for lobbying reform legislation in the new congress.
Senator Collins said, “I am pleased to join my colleagues in reassuring the American people that the cause of lobbying reform has been delayed, but not defeated. We will dedicate ourselves to seeing that this issue is taken up early in the new year.
Senator Collins said that when she and her colleagues begin work on a new lobbying reform bill, the bill should include the requirement that activities of lobbyists be disclosed; that there be included a ban on gifts from lobbyists and lobbyist-funded travel; and reform of the earmark process. She also said that she plans to continue to press for an Office of Public Integrity, a proposal she and Senator Lieberman included in their earlier bill.
“We need to ensure that the ethics enforcement process within Congress is effective and sufficiently transparent to restore public confidence in the system. An independent Office of Public Integrity within the Legislative Branch would be able to conduct nonpartisan investigations of possible ethics violations. These independent investigations would ensure public confidence in the enforcement of any laws we pass to enhance congressional ethics,” Senator Collins said.