WASHINGTON (AP) House Democrats are suddenly balking at the tough lobbying reforms they touted to voters last fall as a reason for putting them in charge of Congress.
Now that they are running things, many Democrats want to keep the big campaign donations and lavish parties that lobbyists put together for them. They’re also having second thoughts about having to wait an extra year before they can become high-paid lobbyists themselves should they retire or be defeated at the polls.
The growing resistance to several proposed reforms now threatens passage of a bill that once seemed on track to fulfill Democrats’ campaign promise of cleaner fundraising and lobbying practices.
“The longer we wait, the weaker the bill seems to get,” said Craig Holman of Public Citizen, which has pushed for the changes. “The sense of urgency is fading,” he said, in part because scandals such as those involving disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former Rep. Duke Cunningham, R-Calif., have given way to other news.
The situation concerns some Democrats, who note their party campaigned against a “culture of corruption” in 2006, when voters ended a long run of Republican control of Congress. Several high-profile issues remained in doubt Friday, five days before the House Judiciary Committee is to take up the legislation.
OK, I lied. I have to comment.
There is a genuine opportunity for the Democratic Party to kick ass on the issue of reform. I’ve long pointed out that this generation of Democratic leaders – with the full complicity of the would-be reformist Netroots – is unlikely to seize that opportunity.