Bill Would Rein In Pay-to-Play Politics and Reduce the Damaging Influence of Lobbyists on Our Democracy
Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and Democracy Reform Task Force Chair Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) today introduced the Curtailing Lobbyists and Empowering Americans for a New (CLEAN) Politics Act of 2018, a bill to curb pay-to-play politics and limit the undue access and influence of lobbyists in Washington.
“Endless lobbying and fundraising in Washington has created a corruption of inaction,” Bennet said. “Instead of addressing the real challenges Americans face, our dysfunctional campaign finance system has prevented Congress from acting on climate change, the deficit, and the costs of health care. The CLEAN Politics Act would reduce the influence of lobbyists so we can get back to the business of governing in a way that is responsive to our constituents.”
“The voices of the many – not the money – should call the shots in our nation’s capital,” Sarbanes said. “By cleaning up this town’s ruinous culture of pay-to-play politics and reining in the corrosive influence of wealthy and well-connected lobbyists, we can make sure that Congress puts the public interest ahead of special interests.”
The CLEAN Politics Act would enshrine five key lobbying reforms, including:
- Strengthening the lobbying registration process;
- Requiring individuals who provide strategic advice in support of lobbying activity to register;
- Prohibiting lobbyists from soliciting or providing large amounts of campaign contributions to Congressional candidates;
- Banning solicitations of campaign contributions from lobbyists when Congress is in session; and
- Closing the Lobbying Disclosure Act loophole that allows foreign agents to avoid greater scrutiny.
The bill is part of a broader effort to reform Washington, building on Bennet’s 2015 Lobbying and Campaign Finance Reform Act. Earlier this year, Bennet introduced the Fair Maps Act to prohibit partisan gerrymandering, and since his first term in Congress, Bennet has been introducing the Close the Revolving Door Act to ban members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists.
The CLEAN Politics Act has earned the endorsement of several reform groups, including American Oversight, Democracy 21, Campaign for Accountability, Center for American Progress, Common Cause, CREW, End Citizens United, Every Voice, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, Public Citizen, Sunlight Foundation, and Voices for Progress, along with former chief White House ethics lawyer Norman Eisen.
A summary of the CLEAN Politics Act is available HERE.
The bill text is available HERE.