Feingold takes on K Street. - Wow! But will it ever happen? It did on overhauling campaign finance laws.
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) will introduce a bill today that would radically overhaul the ways in which lobbyists and lawmakers interact with one another.
Feingold's bill would require more disclosure of meetings between lawmakers and lobbyists, curb privately funded travel, slow the revolving door between government service and lobbying, and raise the cost of traveling on private jets . . . .
Perhaps the most substantial change to current lobbying laws is a prohibition on former senators-turned-lobbyists from using the Senate gym or visiting current members on the Senate floor.
Specifics of Feingold's bill include,
* Requiring disclosure in the quarterly lobbying reports of grassroots lobbying, coalition lobbying and phone calls or in-person meetings with lawmakers, including the substance of those meetings.
* Lawmakers will have to sign a statement indicating that lobbyists are not paying for privately funded travel and pay the cost of charter airfare rather than just first class airfare when flying aboard private jets.
* A total gift ban and a $50,000 fine for violating the ban.
* Executive branch officials, lawmakers, and staff must wait two years instead of one year to lobby. And, they will be prohibited from contacting former colleagues in this time frame, as well as supervising a lobbying shop.
* Former lawmakers and staffers will be banned from contacting the entire Congress rather than just the former office in which they worked and, in their disclosure forms, they will have to indicate all former executive or legislative branch employment rather than just where they've worked in the past two years.