Senator Bennet (Col.) announced a proposal to reform lobbying rules. The Senator’s press release is here.
To solve for the problem of outsized lobbyist influence and to close the revolving door, Bennet has proposed an aggressive lobbying reform bill called The Close the Revolving Door Act of 2010. This new legislation would:
- Place a Lifetime Ban on Members of Congress from lobbying after leaving public life;
- Increase the “cooling off” period for congressional staff from lobbying their former bosses and Committees from one year to six years-a full Senate term or 3 House terms;
- Prevent lobbyists from joining congressional staffs that they lobbied for 6 years;
- Make it easier for the public to research lobbyists by fusing online materials and government maintained materials into one web site, lobbyists.gov;
- Close the loophole that currently allows Members of Congress to reimburse wealthy donors for charter jet travel at a fraction of the real cost for that travel, and instead require those Members of Congress to pay the full market rate for charter jet travel;
- Require that the Member of Congress report the names of lobbyists who were on that flight within 30 days of the air travel in question;
- Close the cash loophole so lobbyists can no longer make small contributions in cash;
- Create important new disclosure requirements for firms and companies that employ multi-person lobbying practices-dubbed “substantial lobbying entities” -that allow the public to examine, not just the registered lobbyists that they employ, but also the other former members of Congress and former senior congressional staff that they are paying to provide advice on Washington’s business;
- Improve information sharing between Congress and law enforcement so that potential lawbreaking by lobbyists can be investigated and punished where appropriate;
- Increases the maximum punishment for lobbyist statutory violations to a $500,000 fine.