February 12, 2014
Given the low esteem that most people hold toward the U.S. Congress, it’s hardly surprising that many Americans have come to expect unethical, shady and seedy shenanigans as the norm among a sizeable chunk of the members and staff of the chief lawmaking body of this nation.
In fact, a recent Rasmussen poll found 60 percent of Americans believe most members of Congress are willing to sell their votes for cash or campaign contributions.
At the center of many of these congressional sell-your-soul deals stand lobbyists. Loopholes in ethics law governing lobbyists exposed by The New York Times (last) week only feed public cynicism. As The Times reported, many former senior staff members of U.S. representative and senators are grossly violating the intent of a 2007 law that requires a waiting period before they can lobby their buddies in Congress. The law imposes a one-year ban for senior staff and House members, and two years for senators….
A new study by the Sunlight Foundation found that the number of active lobbyists with prior government experience has nearly quadrupled since 1998….
We doubt that the revolving door can ever be completely stopped, but the speed at which it moves must be slowed. Revising the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act to close the loopholes would help the six-year-old law live up to its noble-sounding name and might clear just a little bit of the stink that far too many Americans still smell enveloping our nation’s capital.
— The (Youngstown) Vindicator