Lobbyist bill a good corruption preventative
The U.S. Senate recently passed a bi-partisan bill aimed at preventing lobbyist corruption by requiring a disclosure of past criminal convictions of the applicants in their lobbying disclosure and registration forms.
The bill, S.2896 the Justice Against Corruption on K Street Act, also known as the JACK Act, passed the Senate on Aug. 23. It is co-sponsored by Louisiana Republican John Kennedy and West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin.
In this time of so much hyper partisanship, it is good to see a Republican and a Democrat working together for the good of the nation.
The bill name is a reference to Jack Abramoff, who didn’t have to disclose his prison sentence for public bribery and other crimes when he re-registered as a lobbyist last year.
“This idea is simple; If you have been convicted of a felony like bribery, extortion, embezzlement or tax evasion, you should have to disclose that when registering to become a lobbyist. Corrupt lobbyists need to be brought into the sunlight, especially if they’re wearing $6,000 suits purchased with the money from prior misdeeds,” Kennedy said.
Manchin added, “I was proud to work with my dear friend Sen. Kennedy on this bipartisan, commonsense legislation that will ensure businesses know who is representing them in Washington, D.C. Currently, lobbyists don’t need to disclose if they have been convicted of bribery, extortion, embezzlement, legal kickbacks, tax evasion or money laundering when they register to become a lobbyist, or to the businesses they could be representing and the Congressional offices they could be meeting with. That’s absurd.”
It does indeed seem incredible that lobbyists don’t currently have to disclose their criminal past. Hopefully the bill will be swiftly passed next by the House of Representatives and then signed into law by President Trump.
The government should have the highest standards for honesty and integrity for the people it allows to have so much influence on the people’s elected representatives, as well as the career civil servants who do the people’s business everyday.
Clean, good government should be supported by everyone, Republican and Democrat alike.
This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Crystal Stevenson, John Guidroz, retired editor Jim Beam and retired staff writer Mike Jones.