Thursday, June 21, 2007

"Feingold, Obama Push For Strongest Ethics and Lobbying Reform Bill Possible"

Common Dreams:
WASHINGTON - JUNE 21 - U.S. Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Barack Obama (D-IL) are pushing for Congress to produce the strongest ethics and lobby reform bill possible. Feingold and Obama are urging several Senate leaders, who will play important roles in the bill’s fate as the Senate prepares to negotiate the final bill with the House of Representatives, to include several key provisions that passed the Senate but were left out of the House version of the bill.
Feingold and Obama were two of the main architects of the Senate bill which passed in January with broad bipartisan support. Senate Majority Leader Reid hailed the bill as one of the most significant pieces of legislation dealing with ethics and lobbying reform in our nation’s history. Also signing the letter were all of the freshmen Democratic Senators including Senators Brown (D-OH), Cardin (D-MD), Casey (D-PA), Klobuchar (D-MN), McCaskill (D-MO), Sanders (I-VT), Tester (D-MT), Webb (D-VA), and Whitehouse (D-RI), who made cleaning up Washington crucial parts of their successful campaigns.

“The public voted for change last November in part because people were sick and tired of the way Washington works,” Feingold said. “Without provisions like a strong lobbyist gift ban, and tough restrictions on privately funded travel and corporate jet flights, the bill won’t do enough to change the status quo in Washington.”

“Last November, the American people sent a message to Washington to clean up its act, so it’s important that Congress take tough action on lobbying and ethics reform,” said Senator Obama. “Since donors are now limited in the amount of money they can contribute to candidates, the greatest measure of influence is how much an individual raises. The final ethics bill must require that candidates disclose those who have bundled contributions for their campaigns, so that we can expose the link between lobbyists who are raising campaign cash in exchange for votes on legislation and start changing the way Washington works.”

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