Democrats Mum on Astroturf Lobbying Disclosure

Jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff (Source: Village Voice)Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) "seized on the recent FBI raids of the businesses of the wives of Reps. John Doolittle (R-Calif.) and Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.), both of whom are under investigation for linking legislative favors to personal profits through side businesses, as a continuing reason to push for" ethics reforms, reports Paul Kane. "But, four months into their reign, Democrats have yet to change any laws governing how lobbyists ply their trade or place any new limits or the revolving door for members and staff." A House bill is expected soon, but Representatives are reluctant to require "disclosure by public relations firms of grassroots efforts at lobbying that doesn't involve direct contact with Congress and therefore isn't currently disclosed." Other difficult reforms for Democrats include revealing bundled donations from lobbyists and extending the "cooling-off period" that members and senior staff must wait before lobbying former colleagues.