Republic Report, a nonpartisan project of the nonprofit group United Republic,
is a blog dedicated to rooting out the corruption that is so corrosive to American values. We will investigate and uncover the buying and selling of politicians and of institutions entrusted with upholding the public interest. We will expose how big money distorts major policy decisions – harming our economy and our people.
On February 23, Republic Report published an article describing a bill introduced by Bill Posey (R–FL) to
ban all lobbying by former Members of Congress for five years and all lobbying by former congressional employees for two years. Perhaps most interestingly, … the bill would actually ban any contact between these former government employees and current employees of Congress that is intended to influence them on behalf of any person. This would … not only ban these individuals from federally registered lobbying but even informal lobbying as well.
If the bill ever became law, it probably would do some good, but one can’t help wondering how “informal lobbying” can be defined precisely enough to stand up in a court of law.
Referring to “some laws regulating how and when former Members of Congress can become lobbyists,” the article notes that
some legislators — most famously, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) — have skirted these laws by engaging in influence peddling without officially registering as lobbyists. Former Members of Congress regularly exploit this Daschle Loophole.
Of course Daschle is so last-decade. Nowadays it might be better known as the Gingrich loophole.
An interesting sidelight on Republic Report is that one of its writers is none other than Jack Abramoff. Good for Jack finding honest work.