In which I bash the Dems, too
At the risk of this seeming like, when it comes to politics, I only slap around the Republicans, this is altogether unsuprising:
House Democrats introduced a lobbying reform bill Tuesday night that requires more disclosure of links between lobbyists and lawmakers, but stops short of the toughest reforms floated in the wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal.
The bill would require members to disclose K Street job offers, ban them from lobbying former colleagues for two years, and demand greater disclosure of fundraising on behalf of members.
It also imposes fines and a possible 15-year prison sentence on anyone who uses their position to force a lobbying shop or business to hire – or not hire – someone because of their partisan political affiliation.
That provision aims to put an end to the sort of K Street Project implemented by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, in which he and other Republican leaders tried to keep Democrats from getting lobbying jobs.
But the reform bill would not create an independent investigator to conduct ethics inquiries or require detailed disclosure of lobbyist bundling for lawmakers.
There are a lot of ways I could say, "Well, this IS progress, and that's good" but there's really no call for this. The only reason Democrats are backing away from some of these rules is because THEY are in the power position now and they want to reap the benefits. That's no excuse - it's just the opposite, in fact.
If the Democrats really believe that they were swept into office by a populace that was utterly disgusted with Republican corruption, then not living up to all their plans is just bad politics. If they think instead it was just a reaction to the war and George Bush, then it's a power grab. Either way, it's not very pretty.