Boehner Said He Wanted Lobbying Reform. Six Months Later, Lobbyists Are "Happy," And The Odds Of Sweeping Reforms Are "Nil."
"I think we need more reforms to make sure that there's transparency in the relationship between those who lobby us and members themselves. ... I think the transparency that exists in this relationship — more of it would be helpful. Let the sun shine in, because that's the best disinfectant."
Soon after disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to conspiring to corrupt public officials, congressional leadership promised quick action on a variety of lobbying measures.
But that was then, and this is now. All you need to know is that the president of the lobbyists' association is "happy." Clearly, Boehner has not followed up his talk with action.
The two chambers cannot agree over a number of provisions. Enough lawmakers in the Republican-led Congress have resisted efforts to limit lobbyist-provided perks -- such as free meals and travel -- that only a watered-down version of what was originally proposed will likely see the light of day. And interest groups have (apparently successfully) pressured Congress to reject the harshest proposals.
Still, Republican leaders are trying to spin that they are following through on the changes Boehner promised six months ago.
"The American people want meaningful change in the way in which Congress spends their money," a statement from House GOP leaders offered this week. "House Republicans are committed to delivering this change."
Yeah, right. No wonder Democrats are increasingly calling this a "do-nothing Congress," and even some Republicans are wondering what this Congress has accomplished, if anything.