Eliza Newlin Carney’s latest Rules of the Game column discusses reactions to the Obama administration’s lobbyist rules.
Still, Obama’s restraints on lobbyists risk causing considerable pain without getting at the root of the problem. A better approach, argue some experts, would be to require federal officials to report and disclose their meetings with all private-sector players, whether registered lobbyists or not.
Even better, say many reform advocates and lobbyists alike, would be to overhaul the campaign finance rules and publicly finance elections. Of course, lawmakers on Capitol Hill — including the Democratic leaders Obama now desperately needs to help enact his agenda — are fiercely wedded to the current political money system. That leaves Obama few options but to adopt arguably symbolic measures that tinker around the edges, and that, increasingly, leave lobbyists fuming.