Lobbying Disclosure: Themes and Issues, 110th Congress Page: 4 of 22
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Lobbying Disclosure: Themes and Issues,
Some of the areas widely believed to be influenced by lobbyists include general
legislation and administrative rulemaking, the inclusion of earmarks in appropriations
legislation that benefit narrow interests, and campaign finance practices.2 Recent
incidents concerning a convicted lobbyist and the provision of privately funded
travel, free meals and entertainment3 by lobbyists to Members of Congress,
congressional staff, and some executive branch officials have focused broad public
and congressional attention on the interactions between government officials and
The First Amendment to the Constitution provides opportunity for interest
groups, which might lobby either in their own behalf, or through paid lobbyists to
participate in public policy making by prohibiting laws that unduly abridge freedom
of speech, the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the
government for a redress of grievances.4 Any consideration of current law related to
lobbying will likely reconsider the balance between open, transparent, and
accountable governance through thorough public disclosure of activities carried out
by lobbyists, and the rights of lobbyists, on their own, or on behalf of a client, to
exercise constitutionally guaranteed rights. Toward those ends, the attention of
policy makers has focused in two general areas: (1) the efficacy of current lobbying
disclosure requirements; and (2) congressional rules governing interactions between
1 See CRS Report RL33397, Earmark Reform Proposals: Analysis of Latest Versions of S.
2349 and H.R. 4975, by Sandy Streeter; CRS Report RL33295 Comparison of Selected
Senate Earmark Reform Proposals, by Sandy Streeter; and CRS Report 98-518, Earmarks
and Limitations in Appropriations Bills, by Sandy Streeter.
2 See CRS Report RL33580, Campaign Finance: An Overview, by Joseph E. Cantor; CRS
Report RS21716, Political Organizations Under Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code,
by Erika Lunder; and CRS Report RL32954, 527 Political Organizations: Legislation in the
109th Congress, by Joseph E. Cantor and Erika Lunder.
s See CRS Report RL33047, Restrictions on the Acceptance of "Officially Connected"
Travel Expenses From Private Sources Under House and Senate Ethics Rules, by Jack
Maskell; CRS Report RS22231, The Acceptance of Gifts of Free Meals by Members of
Congress, by Jack Maskell; and CRS Report RL33237, Congressional Gifts and Travel:
Proposals in the 109th Congress, by Mildred Amer.
4 For a broad overview of the roles and activities of groups that lobby Congress, see U.S.
Senate, Committee on Governmental Affairs, Subcommittee on Intergovernmental
Relations, Congress and Pressure Groups: Lobbying in a Modern Democracy, 99h Cong.,
2"d sess., S. Prt. 99-161 (Washington: GPO, 1986), pp. 1-40.
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Lobbying Disclosure: Themes and Issues, 110th Congress, report, January 12, 2007; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc809290/m1/4/: accessed March 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.