Reps. Cline and Phillips Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Bring Greater Transparency to the Lobbying Industry
WASHINGTON – This week, Congressmen Ben Cline (VA-06) and Dean Phillips (MN-03) introduced H.R. 8022 - the Lobbying Disclosure Reform Act, which will promote greater transparency within the lobbying industry.
When initially passed in 1995, the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) sought to bring about greater accountability among special interest groups and required lobbyists to register with both the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate.
While the LDA has served its purpose well for the past twenty-five years, the law has not been updated in more than a decade. Therefore, to meet the needs of current practices in Washington, the Lobbying Disclosure Reform Act is necessary.
H.R. 8022 updates our Nation’s lobbying laws and closes loopholes often used to take advantage of the system. The legislation clarifies reporting thresholds, widens the scope of who must register as a lobbyist, moves enforcement of lobbying laws from the U.S. Attorney for DC to the Attorney General, and includes various other transparency-increasing measures.
Rep. Cline said, “At the core of this bipartisan bill is the public’s right to know. Americans are dissatisfied with the way things get done in Washington, and updating the LDA with these common-sense provisions is a strong step to modernizing our lobbying laws and placing more power in the hands of the people rather than the lobbyists.”
Rep. Phillips said, “I am on a mission to restore Americans' faith in our government, which begins with reducing the corrupting influence of special interest money in our political system. Lobbyists spent nearly $3.5 billion to influence our elected leaders last year. As the Congress continues to grapple with the response to the COVID-19 crisis, spending trillions of taxpayer dollars in the process, our constituents deserve know which interests are in the room.”
This legislation is the second in a series of bipartisan reform bills that Congressmen Cline and Phillips intend to introduce together over the next several weeks. Last week, the two Congressmen introduced H.R. 7949 – the SMART Government Act.
Congressman Ben Cline represents the Sixth Congressional District of Virginia. He previously was an attorney in private practice and served both as an assistant prosecutor and Member of the Virginia House of Delegates. Cline and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Botetourt County with their two children.