On May 24, 2007, the House passed the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007, H.R. 2316, which ends the tight-knit relationship between lobbyists and lawmakers. This is tough legislation that ends the culture of corruption, and restores accountability in Washington. The bill ends the tight-knit relationship between lobbyists and lawmakers and takes another major step toward making the 110th Congress the most open, honest Congress in history.
The House also passed the Lobbying Transparency Act, H.R. 2317, requiring lobbyists who “bundle,” or collect campaign checks for Members of Congress, to meet strict reporting and disclosure guidelines.
Specifically, this legislation:
- Increases disclosure of lobbyists' contributions to lawmakers, including contributions to Members' charities, to events or entities honoring members, contributions intended to pay the cost of a meeting or a retreat, and contributions disclosed under Federal Election Campaign Act relating to reports by conduits
- Establishes an online, searchable public database of lobbyist disclosure information
- Establishes an online, searchable public database of Member travel and personal financial disclosure forms
- Requires sitting Members to disclose job negotiations for post-Congressional employment by recusing themselves for purposes of a conflict of interest
- Increases penalties for violation of the Lobby Disclosure Act
- Requires Members prohibit their staff from having any official contact with that individual's spouse on behalf of the spouse's client if that individual's spouse is a lobbyist
- Closes a loophole in current law that permits coalitions such as the one that funded the extensive “Harry and Louise” ad campaign that targeted health care legislation in 1993-94 - to avoid disclosing their clients
- Requires lobbyists to disclose past Executive and Congressional employment
- Bans the K Street Project, which prohibits private entities from hiring and firing based on politics
The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act builds on the accomplishments of House Democrats within the first 100 hours of the 110th Congress, moving forward in cleaning up the culture of corruption that has unfortunately plagued Washington, D.C. On the first day of this new Congress, the House passed rules to ban gifts and travel from lobbyists to Members of Congress, and end the abuses connected to privately-funded congressional travel. The House has also passed a critical measure (H.R. 476) to deny taxpayer-funded pension benefits to House members convicted of corruption while serving the American people.