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The Disclosure Window

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) may soon provide more detailed information on bundled donations by lobbyists. They're in the process of hammering out the details of new disclosure regulations the sticking points of which Shawn Zeller discusses in CQ Politics.

Candidates Take on the Money

Presidential candidates are being asked more questions about the ties between the money they take for their campaigns and the decision they'll make in office. As a result, several candidates have taken public stances against traditional big money fundraising, and against lobbyist money. Keep reading for the latest from candidates John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich on the subject.

Word Choice

Michael Dobbs, the "Fact Checker" at the Washington Post devotes today's column to further parsing the assertions of presidential candidates Barack Obama and John Edwards that they would not take money from federal lobbyists. A previous discussion of this topic set off quite a debate among his readers; and he digs into an exploration of where the line is between a donation rooted in conviction, and one rooted in access-buying.

All Together Now

This write up of a panel discussion on lobbying, and lobbyist influence via campaign contributions, hosted at Baruch College really underscores a sentiment that the privately financed model of campaigns is serving no one well. Ordinary voters without special access are tired of feeling shut out, and lobbyists are tired of being the bad guys in a game they have to play.

Some interesting excerpts:

Public Platform

Boy, John Edwards has taken the public financing ball and run with it. In the Concord Monitor piece about a campaign stop Edwards made in New Hampshire he uses his time on the stump to underline his opposition to campaign donations from lobbyists, and his support for public financing of federal campaigns.

From One Branch to Another

If members of Congress can't take lobbyist funded trips, argues the Orlando Sentinel, then neither should members of the Executive Branch and President Bush should sign an executive order banning the practice before his branch of government has a Jack Abramoff all their own.

The Players Hate the Game

This article in The Columbus Dispatch is full of reasons why Congress needs to pass the Fair Elections Now Act and implement full public financing of elections. Lobbyists are dodging fundraising calls, lawmakers are wary of new regulations on their relationships with lobbyists, and voter advocates all over are crying foul on the access lobbyists can buy with campaign cash.

Two Steps Forward or Three Steps Back?

With President Bush still mulling over whether to sign the lobbying and ethics reform bill passed by Congress, there are those who are lauding legislative efforts to thwart corruption, and those lamenting that those laws need to be written in the first place.

Jack Markowitz opens his column in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review with the following:

Biting Brevity

This letter in the Washington Post from Gary Kalman of U.S. PIRG drying the crocodile tears of lawmakers and lobbyists over the new lobbying restrictions passed by the House and Senate is short, but pretty much says it all.

Ad Hits Lobbyist Influence

Barack Obama has just rolled out an ad called "Take It Back" wherein he slams lobbyist influence in Washington and vows change if elected president. The Washington Post profiled the ad this morning, you can watch it here. What do you think? It's good to see the issue of influence addressed by candidates, though I hope the focus goes to the influence of campaign contributions etc. rather than a simplified lobbyists=bad argument.