ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Lobbying Reform

This is a great article in National Review Online regarding the potential effort to reform current lobbying practices:

As a result, the discussion appears to have morphed from the initial seal-the-dome approach (which merely addresses the symptoms of a disease) to a much different and more promising one: address the underlying disease itself. And that disease, conservatives agree, is the ever-expanding size and scope of our federal government. As long as Congress keeps growing government, the lobbyists (and their resources) will continue to try to milk the system for more and more.

Two weeks in, conservatives have begun to coalesce around policies that will remove the incentive lobbyists now have to invest unfathomable amounts of money in garnering the attention of lawmakers and their staffs. Among the promising ideas being floated:
  • End the practice, known as earmarking, of sending taxpayer dollars to specific entities for the narrowest of purposes;
  • Reform the budget process so that the deck is no longer stacked against lawmakers who want to reduce the level of spending;
  • Sunset all federal programs so that dysfunctional programs do not live on indefinitely;
  • Revive proposals from the heady days of the Gingrich-Armey Revolution that would prevent recipients of federal largesse from lobbying Congress;
  • Breathe life into a moribund House rule that, if it were ever enforced, would require witnesses before congressional committees to reveal any and all federal funds flowing to their organizations.
My guess is that this shift in the response to the Abramoff scandal has not been lost on the 231 GOP House members who will soon return to Washington and elect their next majority leader. To the extent that House Republicans rally around reforms that address the diseased state of our budget and appropriations processes, they can seize the same moral high ground they once occupied during those early days of the GOP revolution

As discussed in this ARC post, it seems that the GOP has taken the Democratic offer to change the "culture of corruption," but perhaps not in the way that the Dems would have wanted them to. While I doubt that the size of the federal government could ever be reduced to its original intended size (and thus reduce those seeking to influence policy makers), the measures being considered are a good step in the right direction.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler