Thursday, January 12, 2006

Closing the Barn Door After The Horse Is Out

Efforts for Control Over Lobbyists Not New

Associated Press Writer

January 12, 2006, 3:47 AM EST

WASHINGTON -- "Trailing its slimy length from gallery to committee room, at last it lies stretched at full length on the floor of Congress, this dazzling reptile." That's how a reporter in 1869 described lobbyists, a group that has been wooing, advising and many say corrupting Congress from its earliest days until the latest scandal involving disgraced influence-peddler Jack Abramoff.

As with past scandals, lawmakers are suddenly seeking new controls over an industry they depend on for information and in some cases use for their own personal or political advantage.

Since the last lobbying ethics act passed in 1995, "the lobbying industry has grown exponentially, new strategies for evading restrictions have emerged, and the laws and ethics rules have failed to keep pace," said a recent statement by three lawmakers, Reps., Marty Meehan, D-Mass., and Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., and Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., authors of one of several reform measures that have been introduced.

But if change is overdue for some, for others it is overkill. "My concern is that we are rushing to judgment," said Paul Miller, president of the American League of Lobbyists. Without looking at the lack of enforcement of current rules, "I'm not even sure you can blame the system."

Excuse me? You can't blame the system? No of course you can't...YOU CAN BLAME THE IDIOTS WHO LET LOBBYISTS WRITE LEGISLATION IN THE FIRST PLACE!

The Republicans.