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Posted by on Feb 8, 2007 in Politics | 24 comments

Close the Bundling Loophole

Close the Bundling Loophole

It’s no secret that lobbyists currently hold fundraisers and direct gobs of cash to both candidates and elected officials. What is secret is just how much cash is collected by lobbyists. Currently, they collect or arrange for cash to be sent to federal officeholders, candidates, leadership PACs and party committees. This funneling of money is called “bundling,” and the Senate’s new bill requires disclosure of this money in its lobbying and ethics reform bill.

Members of the House of Representatives are drafting their reform bill now – and disclosure of “bundling” must be included in the bill.

A bundling disclosure provision is important because this information is vital for the public to understand the major role that lobbyists play in Congress and the White House. If the House does not include it, a huge loophole will be left open for lobbyists to influence (and possibly corrupt) Congress members.

Reps. Van Hollen and Meehan have introduced a bill that matches the bundling disclosure provision already passed by the Senate (H.R. 633). This is a good start and their bill should be incorporated into the comprehensive lobbying reform bill being drafted in the House. But they shouldn’t stop there.

Congress should, after the ethics and lobbying reform bill is enacted, move to require all candidates and party committees to be completely transparent. All the details of money being bundled for a campaign should be disclosed: showing who’s bundling whom – and how much is bestowed upon a candidate.

If you support this kind of transparency please go to the link above and let your representative know your opinion. Politics is the slow boring of hard boards but every turn is progress.

I also find it encouraging that Chris Van Hollen is the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee which is in charge of recruiting candidates in the next election. Hopefully he will recruit candidates who are similarly inclined about reducing the influence of special interests on national policy.

UPDATE: In today’s NY times David Brooks writes despondently about how reasonable and open minded many of our Representatives are in private and how partisan they are in public. My personal take on this is the perversion of money to force obedience to dominate statesmanship. As I sort through all the controversial issues in today’s world I continually reduce the lack of pragmatical response to the corrupting influence of unlimited money in politics. For me the single most important change we can all make to putting the world on a healthy course is to ban contributions from Unions and Corporations while publicly financing elections. Let our representatives use their best judgment to collaborate on enduring solutions.

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Copyright 2007 The Moderate Voice
  • superdestroyer

    Another effort to covert the United States into a single party state. The one advantage the Republicans have (versus the Democrat’s advantage in the media, in wealthy candidates, in demographics) is fund raising.

    Of course the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wants money out of campaigns because it gives more advantages to government funded NGO, unions, and the Democratic party’s speical interest groups.

    In a few years even the Democratic primaries will be pointless because most of the candidates for the House and Senate will be handpicked by someone in Washington, DC. And of course, the general election in most states are pointless now.

  • Paul Silver

    Your cynicism is sad.
    What do you think would increase the pragmatism and responsiveness of Congress?

  • C Stanley

    Paul,
    While I support the same goals as you do, I think you’re misguided here:

    For me the single most important change we can all make to putting the world on a healthy course is to ban contributions from Unions and Corporations while publicly financing elections.

    Banning union and corporate money from direct campaign contributions just leads to more proliferation of the 527 nonsense, and a complete loss of accountability. McCain-Feingold was a lousy solution, and yours would make all of the shortcomings of it worse instead of better.

  • “The one advantage the Republicans have (versus the Democrat’s advantage in the media, in wealthy candidates, in demographics) is fund raising.”

    Huh? Do Dems have ‘their own’ TV channel, proudly stating it reports from a liberal point of view? Do Dems rule the airwaves? Do Dems really have more wealthy candidates, are republicans contenders middle class? Do Dems suddenly have more followers, or are you counting the shifting position of the independents in?

    I don’t see any real advantage for Dems that outweighs that business overwhelmingly favorizes the GOP. And the meaning of this sentence I don’t understand at all:
    “Of course the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wants money out of campaigns because it gives more advantages to government funded NGO, unions, and the Democratic party’s speical interest groups.”
    Uh, shouldn’t the DCCC fund campaigns, not raid them? Dems want advantages for “government funded NGO”? That’s the Bush government you’re speaking of? Government funded unions? Wtf???

  • Rudi

    SD When the Demonocrats become as corrept and ‘do nothing’ as the last six years let the voters make a change. There are some good signs.

  • “When the Demonocrats become as corrept and ‘do nothing’ as the last six years let the voters make a change. There are some good signs.”

    Indeed! I agree, the highly estimable enhanced scrutiny of lobbyists efforts by the public effectively reduces the chances of a party that tolerates corruption in its ranks to stay in power for a longer period of time.

  • We need more political parties…the two party system is an utter failure in my opinion…I’d like to see AT MINIMUM 4 major political parties.

  • “We need more political parties…the two party system is an utter failure in my opinion…I’d like to see AT MINIMUM 4 major political parties.”

    It would make politic more transparent for the public, indeed, it wuld be much easier to understand who is on which side and how the distribution of power looks like. But, sadly, that’s not the way your system is build. You’ll have to heavily ammend the constitution, the ‘winner takes it all’ system has to go. and you have to be careful about the new procedures, or you’ll end up with a ‘democracy’ like Italy or Israel, where a ‘rabbit breeder party’ can influence the working of the government. 🙁

    Hey, why don’t you simply introduce the German parliamentary system to the US? Americans had a mayor impact in creating it anyway!

  • Yeah no one party should have a majority in any legislature or the supreme court…and the executive branch should be like how it USED to be: Winner becomes president, runner up becomes vice president, and ELIMINATE the electoral college and the winner is decided solely on the popular vote.

  • “In today’s NY times David Brooks writes despondently about how reasonable and open minded many of our Representatives are in private and how partisan they are in public.”

    Maybe that’s true. But Broder wouldn’t know. Because Representatives don’t speak to him, they speak to media outlet instead. Even when they’re off the record, they will still try to present a carefully crafted image to him. The smart ones, that want to serve another term, at least. Broder is an idiot for not noticing this.

  • superdestroyer

    Rudi,

    The Democratic controlled areas like DC have been very corrupt for decades yet are more Democratic Party leaning that they were 20 years ago. The Democratic Party has the benefit of being able to function with different faction being on opposite sides of issues without a huge amount of infighting. Also, the Democratic party also has factions that will vote for it (blacks, Hispanics, Jews, gays, unions, government employees) no matter how corrupt the individual elected leaders are.

    Gray,

    I will not repeat the clichces that are used to argue about control of the media. Just look at the personal voting and donation patterns of talking heads and reporters of the news channels. Look at the who holds fundraiser in Hollywood. If anything PBS function as a defacto arm of the DNC. Remember, when the conservative commentator from The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour went to work for the Clinton White House and then went back to work for PBS after leaving the White House.

    Also, hasn’t MSNBC decided to be for the left what Fox is for the right?

  • …as Superdestroyer COMPLETELY misses the point I brought up…if there were more major parties we wouldn’t even have this kind of B.S. back and forth childish bickering between two sides…

  • “Just look at the personal voting and donation patterns of talking heads and reporters of the news channels.”

    Reporters do the writing, editors decide what’s inthe news, on the screen, or online. Editors are chosen by the management of the media corps. I guess it’s safe to assume most of them don’t vote Dem. As for the reporters, who says they’re not dinos, Lieberman-like, especially the more afluent among them? How liberal can a millionaire be? Just look at that moron Chris Mathews…

  • “childish bickering between two sides”
    That’s my youthful personality shining through!
    😀

  • “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour went to work for the Clinton White House and then went back to work for PBS after leaving the White House.”

    Uh huh. And what do you think about George Tenet?

  • “Also, hasn’t MSNBC decided to be for the left what Fox is for the right?”

    They fired Phil Donahue, they hired Ollie North, and now they have Joe Scarborough, so that’s news to me…

  • And don ‘t tell me of Hannity and Colmes. Damn, who’s supposed to be the liberal of the two, I can’t memorize this?

  • superdestroyer

    Gray,

    If you look up whose richest in the U.S. Senate, they are all Democrats. If you look up the voting patterns on Manhatten County (where those talking heads, reporters, editors, and publishers live) who will see that 82% voted Democratic. I think it is a safe bet that very few of them are Republican. Remember, at one time all three of the major over the air networks were headed by Jews. Are arguing that all of the jews in Manhatten are Republicans?

    You are falling into that trap that believe rich=Republican when in reality, middle class=Republican and rich=Democratic (See everyone from Mark Dayton, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, George Soros, Maria Cantawell, Jon Corzine, etc).

    It is only the extreme left that argues that the media is controlled by the Republicans.

  • The media is controlled by the rich and elite, period. Party affiliation doesn’t matter to me, to be honest. I’m more worried about the haves vs. have nots over repukelican vs. dumbocrat

  • kritter

    SD- How is DC more corrupt now than it was 20 years ago? Their last mayor, Tony Williams was a vast improvement over the Marion Barry years. Aren’t you making a big generalization there????

  • Rudi

    Yes, that evil Socialist Abrams family (Dan, Floyd and Elliot) have infiltrated MSNBC, will Castro soon be loved at MSNBC.

  • *smokes crack rock under fbi/dea surveillance in this post*

  • Rudi

    CP Is that crack from the Maytag repairman?

  • “If you look up whose richest in the U.S. Senate, they are all Democrats.”
    SuperDD, even if this is true, what’s your problem with that? You want to advocate class warfare here???

    “If you look up the voting patterns on Manhatten County (where those talking heads, reporters, editors, and publishers live) who will see that 82% voted Democratic.”
    While Manhattan may have a higher share of media people than the US in general, who says it’s typical for the media business? Do you thnk the NYT is typical for the newspaper business? Come on…

    “It is only the extreme left that argues that the media is controlled by the Republicans.”
    Only the extreme left” – how do you know? Got any polls? Crystal ball? I Ging?
    And do you think the opposite is true, too?
    ‘It is only the extreme right that argues that the media is controlled by liberals.’ Sounds like BS to me.

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