House GOP lops nards off anti-lobbying bill

I don’t know what to say. I’m…I’m stunned.

GOP softens lobbying measure
Updated 4/23/2006 11:46 PM ET
By Jim Drinkard, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — House Republican leaders have quietly scaled back their plan to limit the political influence of lobbyists, dropping proposed requirements that lobbyists disclose which lawmakers and aides they have contacted and how they have raised money for politicians.

The changes were made public in an amended bill posted on the House Rules Committee website Friday while Congress was wrapping up a two-week recess. Even before the latest move, political ethics experts had called the House plan weaker than a lobbying bill the Senate passed last month.

The legislation is to be considered this week as Congress returns to address a political influence scandal that has gripped Washington. The House bill would leave unchanged current rules that allow members of Congress and their staffs to accept gifts from lobbyists. (Details.)

Frankly, I think we could simplify this whole mess by having Scalia and the boys interpret influence peddling and bribery as protected forms of free speech. Once we come to understand lobbying as a valid 1st Amendment exercise there will be a lot less whining.

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