Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Senate Bill One - A Bad Bill to Enable Bad Bills

I'm highly in favor of the spirit of the Senate's first bill of the current session, S.1 ("Senate Bill One"). It's intent is to achieve ethics reform through lobbying reform. Good stuff.

I don't like how it sets out to accomplish this goal though.

A significant chunk of the bill sets up new and additional regulations (with increased fines) for organizations that do lobbying. Now, I know "lobbying" is a dirty word these days in light of the whole Abramoff scandal, so let me give some examples of those evil lobbying organizations this bill sets out to further regulate:, Focus on the Family, and the AARP.

These organizations aren't the problem. In fact, when bad bills come up, they are the very organizations that encourage advocacy to stop those bad bills. These are the organizations that encourage legislative transparency.

So, S.1 sets out to increase legislative transparency by burdening organizations that inform the public. Frankly, this doesn't make a whole lot of sense. The way to reform Senate ethics should center around adding regulations to the Senate, not to organizations that keep the Senate in check.

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