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Congressional report says White House has 'changed' lobbying relationships

A new report (pdf) from the Congressional Research Service concludes that White House efforts to clamp down on lobbyists has "already changed the relationship" between K Street and the executive branch.

Congress could pursue further reforms by revising federal lobbying rules, according to the report, issued by CRS analyst Jacob R. Straus.

White House ethics counsel Norm Eisen, who oversees the administration's anti-lobbying rules, hailed the conclusion.

"We're pleased that CRS recognized a fact that is apparent every day to those of us who work in government: the President's historic restrictions on lobbying are having a significant impact in making sure that the government serves the public interests and not special interests," Eisen wrote in a White House blog posting Friday morning. "We hear constantly from public servants across the executive branch how appreciative they are that the President's high standards and tough rules allow them to do their jobs."

President Obama has made lobbying restrictions a cornerstone of his first year in office. He issued on his first full day in office an executive order laying out new ethics guidelines and banning the hiring of most registered lobbyists for administration jobs. Obama has also riled K Street with restrictions on lobbyist contacts over stimulus funds; requirements to log and summarize lobbyist meetings; and a policy issued this fall that will likely lead to the removal of thousands of lobbyists from federal advisory panels throughout the government.

The American League of Lobbyists and other groups say the restrictions unfairly target those who have followed federal disclosure laws and are merely representing the interest of companies and industries whose interests are affected by federal regulations. Some liberal advocacy groups have also complained about the impact of the restrictions on nonprofits and other groups that do not represent monied interests in Washington.

The CRS report concludes that "creation of restrictions on federally registered lobbyists' access to executive branch departments and agencies has already changed the relationship between lobbyists and covered executive branch officials." But, the report continues, "there are additional options which might further clarify lobbyists' relationships with executive branch officials," including increasing disclosure requirements under federal lobbying laws or creating a database to track stimulus lobbying contacts.

By Dan Eggen  |  December 4, 2009; 11:29 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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So, maybe now the defense lobby won't keep public watchdogs from exposing this?


* Did this covert program target, and help incite, the Ft. Hood shooter?

• Gov't-enabled community "watch" vigilantes infiltrate health care system, compromise care of unjustly targeted Americans and their relatives, says journalist-victim. OR RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | December 4, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

How about cleaning up lobbying practices with Congress and the Senate?
Have you hugged/serviced you insurance company puppetteer lately?

Posted by: rooster54 | December 4, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

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