Proposal Also Bars Lobbyists from Bundling Campaign Contributions
Aims to End Outsized, Undue Influence from Lobbyists
Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet is continuing his efforts to reform the way Washington works and end the dysfunction. Today, he introduced a bill to end the outsized and undue influence of lobbyists on Members of Congress. The Lobbying and Campaign Finance Reform Act prohibits members of Congress and candidates from soliciting campaign contributions from lobbyists while Congress is in session and bars lobbyists from bundling large contributions.
“It’s time to return the power in Washington to the people who elected us to represent them,” Bennet said. “When Congress is in session, members should be focused on the work in front of them rather than asking lobbyists to fill their campaign coffers. Our campaign system and our politics have become distorted giving lobbyists extraordinary and undue influence and access that comes at the expense of the American people. We can take enormous steps to correct this distortion by preventing lobbyists, who are in the business of influence, from handing members of Congress a pile of checks worth tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars and by prohibiting members from asking for contributions while they are legislating.”
The Lobbying and Campaign Finance Reform Act would:
- Prohibit solicitations of campaign contributions from lobbyists when Congress is in session – It prohibits Members of Congress, Senators, and candidates for the House of Representatives or the Senate from soliciting campaign contributions from lobbyists when their respective bodies are in session;
- Eliminate lobbyist bundling of large contributions – The bill prohibits registered lobbyists from bundling large contributions from individuals and obtaining credit with Senators and Members of Congress for this bundling;
- Reforms the lobbying registration process – The bill would require lobbyists to register if he or she makes two or more lobbying contacts for a client over a two-year period regardless of whether the lobbyist spends more than 20 percent of his or her time serving the particular client.
The bill is supported by the Campaign Legal Center, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Common Cause, Democracy 21, Demos, League of Women Voters, Public Citizen, and the Sunlight Foundation.
Bennet’s bill complements his work to reform the way Washington does business and to restore confidence to the voters. He has introduced a bill to close the revolving door and ban Members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists. Bennet also introduced a constitutional amendment with Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) that would restore authority to Congress, individual states, and the American people to regulate campaign finance. He is also a cosponsor of the DISCLOSE Act to crack down on “dark money” by requiring organizations that spend money to influence elections to disclose their spending as well as their major sources of funding in a timely manner.