The House voted today to strengthen campaign finance disclosure requirements, passing controversial measures to require disclosure of lobbyist "bundler" donors to candidates and multi-candidate political action committees (PACs). Read more on the vote here.
In anticipation of action today on the bill, USA Today ran a critical article on the progress of lobbying and campaign finance reform in the House, urging not only disclosure of bundlers but more crackdown on the influence lobbyists wield through their campaign contributions and the access they are thus able to win from members of Congress:
Today alone, there are 13 Washington fundraisers scheduled for GOP House members, according to the National Republican Campaign Committee, which publicly discloses such events on its website. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee declined to release a list of Democratic fundraisers.
Many of those breakfasts, lunches and receptions will be hosted and attended by lobbyists directing contributions of $1,000 or more from political action committees, according to the Republican invitations. For example, the campaign of Rep. Randy Kuhl, R-N.Y., a transportation committee member, is asking $500 from individuals and $1,000 from PACs for lunch at the American Trucking Association headquarters.
Typically at such events, lobbyists get invaluable face time with the lawmakers.
Good to see that the gridlock over this first round of disclosure requirements has been broken, but this is really only the beginning of what needs to be a major about-face on campaign finance in Washington. Until public financing becomes the centerpiece of the discussion on eliminating the corrupting influence of big money we have to keep bringing the issue to the steps of Congress.