Monday, October 30, 2006

Lobbyists Won't Like What Pelosi Has in Mind



If Democrats gain the 15 seats they need to win control of the House -- and most analysts think they will -- one of the first things the new House will do is restrict or end outright a slew of lobbying practices.

In a little-publicized statement, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the House Democratic leader, has promised to change the chamber's rules to reflect the provisions of her not-so-modestly-named Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2006. The months-old measure would, among other things, prohibit House members from accepting gifts and travel from lobbyists or from organizations that employ lobbyists.

The Pelosi bill includes changes not only to House rules but also to federal laws. Any changes in law would have to be approved by the Senate and the president before they could take effect. But the House can alter its own rules anytime, and that's precisely what Pelosi proposes to do as the House's first official act next year -- after it selects her as speaker....


The biggest change proposed by Pelosi would be the ban on gifts and travel. Pelosi would prohibit House members and their staff from using corporate jets for travel taken as part of their official duties. She would also prevent them from taking anything of value from lobbyists, including meals, tickets and entertainment.

The ban would apply not just to lobbyists' gifts but also to gifts from nongovernmental groups that hire lobbyists. House members and their aides would also be barred from accepting transportation or lodging for any trips that are funded, arranged, requested, planned or even attended by lobbyists.

These are all reactions to the Jack Abramoff scandal....

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