The Corpus Callosum

Changes in Lobbying Practices?

The href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/29/AR2006102900628.html"
rel="tag">Washington Post
reports that
there may be changes in Washington lobbying practices, if the Democrats
take control of Congress.

…If Democrats gain the 15 seats they need to win
control of the House –
and most analysts think they will — one of the first things the new
House will do is restrict or end outright a slew of lobbying practices.

In a little-publicized statement, Rep. Nancy Pelosi
(D-Calif.), the
House Democratic leader, has promised to change the chamber’s rules to
reflect the provisions of her not-so-modestly-named Honest Leadership
and Open Government Act of 2006. The months-old measure would, among
other things, prohibit House members from accepting gifts and travel
from lobbyists or from organizations that employ lobbyists.

The
Pelosi bill includes changes not only to House rules but also to
federal laws. Any changes in law would have to be approved by the
Senate and the president before they could take effect…


The author points out that many previous attempts at reform have fallen
flat.  Apparently, they’ve died because those in Congress
somehow got the impression that voters did not really care.

But I’ve not seen any serious consideration of the only reform that I
think would really do the job.  

What I would like to see would be, in fact, something like what I wrote
about in my recent post (on MyLifeBits.)  Lobbyists would be
required to hire a Congressional stenographer to record the entire
interaction, every single time they interact with someone in Congress.
 The transcript would then go on the Internet.

Better yet, the whole thing also would be videotaped, and the recording
would then become public information.