Report: ND Lobbying Law Could Be Model for Congress
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
BISMARCK, N.D. - When members of Congress leave office, an industry lobbying role often is in their future. A new report says states such as North Dakota could provide a model to help the federal government slow this revolving door.
The consumer watchdog group Public Citizen applauded North Dakota and two other states for their strong restrictions on lobbying after lawmakers leave office. Report co-author Craig Holman, Public Citizen's government-affairs lobbyist, said the ethics measure passed by voters in November prohibits former officials from influencing public policy during a two-year "cooling off" period.
"And it not only has a longer cooling-off period," he said, "it also just prohibits - during that two-year cooling-off period - former elected officials from doing any kind of lobbying activity."
Holman said this kind of reform would close a loophole that allows former lawmakers to become lobbyists so long as they avoid directly lobbying to people in office. This year, Public Citizen found nearly two-thirds of former members of Congress have gone on to work for groups that seek to influence federal policies, including lobbying firms, consulting firms, trade groups and business groups.
Holman called the pipeline of former lawmakers into lobbying jobs "one of the most pernicious influence-peddling schemes available to wealthy special interests," adding that a lucrative job after leaving office has the potential to corrupt politicians.
"If he or she curries favor with that special employer, special interest," he said, "it's hard to make sure that the officeholder is acting on behalf of the public interest, rather than his or her own interest."
While the U.S. Senate has a two-year cooling-off period for for lobbying activities, it remains only one year for the House. Holman said the minimum should be at least two years, because that's the length of a legislative session and it takes at least that long for old staff contacts to turn over. Florida lawmakers recently passed a six-year cooling-off period - the longest to date.
The report is online at citizen.org.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
ALBANY, N.Y. -- A new survey shows most New Yorkers approve of medical aid-in-dying legislation, and advocates for end-of-life autonomy said it is …
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohioans across religious traditions have come together as one voice this week to speak out against capital punishment. Dozens of …
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Community college students in California are being encouraged to take a closer look at their education plans, to see if …
SPRINGDALE, Ark. -- New efforts are underway to help small-scale farms in Arkansas expand their business. The Food Conservancy, a northwest Arkansas …
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A high percentage of rejected voter registrations in three of Ohio's biggest counties is raising some red flags. According to the …
CORRECTION: The last day to request absentee ballots in Virginia is Fri., Oct. 22. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Oct…
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A special court panel is hosting public hearings this month, asking Minnesotans what new political maps should look like, and …
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas has some of the weakest gun laws in America, and gun-control advocates say the permissive attitude may be why a student …