Washington, D.C. – Today, Democrats in the House and Senate proposed bold anti-corruption legislation to help fix our political system by breaking the nexus between influence peddling and campaign money. The measures, which the Center for American Progress has long promoted, would ban lobbyists from fundraising for members of Congress beyond their individual contribution limit and close other longstanding lobbyist registration gaps and loopholes. They would also ban members of Congress and candidates from asking lobbyists for money while Congress is in session. The measures would help put an end to what the American Bar Association lobbying reform task force called “a self-reinforcing cycle of mutual financial dependency [that] has become a deeply troubling source of corruption in our government.”
The legislation is supported by anti-corruption and government accountability leaders including Democracy 21, Campaign for Accountability, Common Cause, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, End Citizens United, Every Voice, Public Citizen, Sunlight Foundation, Voices for Progress, and former U.S. Ambassador Norm Eisen.
In response, Liz Kennedy, senior director of Democracy and Government Reform at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:
Lobbying and campaign fundraising shouldn’t mix. When members of Congress depend on lobbyists for arranging campaign cash, that is a recipe for corruption, not fair representation for all. It is cause for grave concern that elected officials may be succumbing to improper financial influences in determining who they meet. These strong, clear anti-corruption solutions would change the current system of politics that distorts incentives so elected officials are too often beholden to wealthy corporations and special interests instead of the people they represent. These measures take direct aim at activity by lobbyists who host big fundraising events for members of Congress and get way too much power over policymaking in exchange. People are ready to take action to restructure the rules of our democracy to fight corruption and promote fair representation so that Congress is responsive and accountable to the people.
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