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Ethics and Lobbying Reform

Legal Center works to ensure that federal officials comply with the rules and standards governing ethical conduct. The Legal Center assembled and leads the Congressional Ethics Coalition, an ideologically diverse group of the nation's leading government reform organizations that work for meaningful reform of congressional ethics rules.

Three Scenarios Now Possible on Election Spending
Posted March 16, 2010 by Meredith McGehee

What will federal elections look like now that the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations (and most likely unions) may use their massive treasury funds to directly affect federal elections?


A Look at the Obama Administration's Lobbying Initiatives
Posted December 14, 2009 by CLC Staff

Over the course of 2009, the new Administration has launched a series of initiatives related to its interaction with lobbyists. The Campaign Legal Center summarizes these efforts by the Obama White House to restrict the influence of special interests.


FEC Ignores Law, Reopens Corporate Jet Travel to Senators
Posted November 20, 2009 by Paul S. Ryan

The FEC’s new candidate air travel rule illegally contradicts the plain meaning of the statute. Unfortunately, gutting or ignoring federal law—that Commissioners would have written differently themselves—has become a recurring habit for the FEC. In an earlier rulemaking, the FEC gutted the intent of another key aspect of HLOGA, allowing lobbyists to easily evade required reporting of bundled campaign contributions.


Fault Ethics Committee, Not OCE
Posted November 20, 2009 by Meredith McGehee

The House ethics committee's anticipated dismissal of a complaint against Members who participated in a Caribbean trip underdewritten by corporate sponsors, will likely include another rebuke of the Office of Congressional Ethics. The repeated and unfounded public criticisms of OCE are deeply troubling.


Decades of Campaign Finance Law Under Siege
Posted May 7, 2009 by Tara Malloy and J. Gerald Hebert

Many decades of hard-earned reforms to the nation’s campaign finance laws are in danger of being dismantled by a litigation offensive mounted by interests opposed to those reforms.


On Senator Stevens' and DOJ's Misconduct
Posted April 1, 2009 by J. Gerald Hebert

Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement yesterday that, after reviewing the record and based on the totality of circumstances, he was going to seek dismissal of the original indictment against convicted former Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) raises serious questions and concerns.


Break the Link Between Earmarks, Contributions
Posted March 30, 2009 by Meredith McGehee

Amid the partisan posturing and point-scoring during the earmark debate, a genuinely good idea emerged in the form of a call to investigate the relationship between earmarks and campaign contributions. The relationship is a particularly insidious one in an era of spiraling campaign costs.


Campaign Money Game Casts Pall Over Lobbyists
Posted February 5, 2009 by Meredith McGehee

During the 2007-08 election cycle, the term “lobbyist” became an even dirtier word. However, it is important to recognize that not all lobbyists are cut from the same cloth. Many of us who lobby for nonprofits don’t particularly enjoy being lumped in with Jack Abramoff and the black hats of the profession.


Bundling Disclosure Provisions Undermined by New FEC Rules?
Posted December 18, 2008 by Paul S. Ryan

After much discussion of the difficulty of crafting a compromise and a bit of self-congratulation, the FEC today unanimously adopted rules to implement the bundling disclosure requirements in the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007—the important ethics and lobbying reform law passed by Congress in 2007. Unfortunately, the rules adopted by the FEC today may seriously undermine the purposes of the law and the intent of the law’s principal sponsors—including President-elect Obama and Sen. Feingold—as expressed on the floor of the Senate.


Too Busy and Too Big to be Bothered
Posted November 25, 2008 by Meredith McGehee

All this nettlesome paperwork about financial holdings, gifts, trips and campaign contributions! What’s an above-reproach public official to do? In some cases, it seems the answer is to treat the gift rules and the whole disclosure process with contempt.


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