August 6, 2007
I always worry when Congress promises to clean up its act. This has been tried before and no law, or regulation, or reform seems to be enough – members always find a way around it. Sometimes they end up in jail. Most often, they get away with it.
The Democratic-lead House, with no Republican input, has passed a so-called “lobby reform bill.” It’s better than the current law, but as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says, it doesn’t go far enough and it isn’t as good as the Republican bill in the Senate.
Earmark reform was supported by every Democratic senator, but the House bill suffers from its absence. Earmarks – adding on to bills special projects in a member’s state or district – contributed to the loss of the GOP majority. They are a terrible misspending of the taxpayer’s money. They are also a way for members to payoff lobbyists who, in turn, help underwrite their re-election campaigns.
Democrats needed a success before the August recess, but the House lobby reform bill does not go far enough to protect the taxpayers from the predatory politicians.
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C.