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Lobbying and Ethics Reform Bill Comparison
Common Cause Ethics Challenge

CC Position

S2128 (McCain)
HR4575 (Shays)

S1398 (Feingold)
HR2412 (Meehan-Emanuel) House Democratic Proposal Hastert Bill (TBA)
Create an independent Office of Ethics Counsel within Congress Government Accountability Office would review the effectiveness of lobbying oversight by the SOS/COH and issue semiannual reports to Congress on the topic.  Government Accountability Office would review the effectiveness of lobbying oversight and issue semiannual reports to Congress on the topic.

Government Accountability Office would review the effectiveness of lobbying oversight by the SOS/COH and issue semiannual reports to Congress on the topic; those reports will be the subject of hearings by the House Administration and Judiciary committees.

A bipartisan, 10-member ethics task force will recommend ways to strengthen House ethics oversight and enforcement. It would provide the resources needed for that purpose. A special task force will consult outside experts and make suggestions on ethics oversight and enforcement within 60 days.

No provision.

No provision.

Gift ban for registered lobbyists and members Lobbyists and their employees must report gifts of $20 or more to lawmakers, staff and executive branch officials; they must also pay fair market value for sports and entertainment.

Registered lobbyists cannot give gifts to members or congressional employees.  Gifts from relatives, personal friends, campaign contributions, informational materials, and items of nominal value are allowed.

 

Requires senators and staff to publicly disclose information on any travel on a corporate jet.  Senators must reimburse corporate jet owners at the charter rate, instead of first class airfare rates.  Campaigns must also pay for the use of corporate jets at the charter rate.  Current FEC regulations allow campaigns to pay first class airfare if the flight is between cities where commercial service is available.

 

No provision.   Lobbyists would be prohibited from giving gifts to members, including meals, entertainment and travel.  Would tighten gift rules and prevent members and staff from benefiting from gifts from lobbyists (similar to $20-per-gift/$50 per year limit on executive branch employees).
Ban on privately funded travel for members

Lobbyists must provide detailed documents on travel organized for lawmakers, staff and executive branch officials.
Members must file reports with COH/SOS within 10 days of privately-sponsored travel including detailed itinerary of events, tours, meetings and outings. Members/staff must pay fair market value for private travel. 


House and Senate ethics committees must develop/revise guidelines on what constitutes "reasonable expenses" or "reasonable expenditures" during privately-funded travel.

Requires more detailed descriptions from members of all meetings, tours, events, and outings during travel paid for by private entities under the gift rules.

 

All congressional employees must get a certification from any party paying for transportation or lodging permitted by the gift rules that the trip was not planned, organized, arranged, or financed by a registered lobbyist and that no registered lobbyists will participate in or attend the trip.

House Ethics Committee must develop/revise guidelines on what constitutes "reasonable expenses" or "reasonable expenditures" during privately-funded travel.

Members who accept privately-funded travel or lodging must get written certification from the funding organization that it was not planned, organized or arranged by a lobbyist or foreign agent, was not organized at the request of a lobbyist or foreign agent and that the organization did not accept funds specifically earmarked for the travel.

Members who accept privately-funded travel or lodging must provide a detailed itinerary of tours, meetings, events and outings.

Members could not accept travel from lobbyists.

Would ban privately sponsored travel.

Double the one-year "cooling-off" period for members and top staff; expands the definition of lobbying activity.

Doubles the one-year "cooling-off" period.
Retiring members must disclose possible conflicts of interest with potential employer within 3 days of start of talks with employer. 
Doubles “cooling-off” period to two years. Retiring members must disclose possible conflicts of interest with potential employer within 3 days of start of talks with employer. Doubles "cooling-off" period to two years. Retiring members must disclose possible conflicts of interest with potential employer within 3 days of start of talks with employer. Doubles "cooling-off" period for former members to two years; eliminates floor privileges for congressional officers and former members who become lobbyists; retiring members must disclose when they are negotiating private sector jobs; Executive Branch officials negotiating private sector jobs must get approval from Office of Government Ethics. Doubles "cooling-off" period to two years; expected to vote by Feb. 1 to revoke House gym & floor privileges to former members who become lobbyists.
Congressional campaign public financing; reform presidential public financing

No provision. No provision. No provision.      No provision.
Create electronic filing system for lobbyist reports and searchable database of lobbyist contacts Lobbyists must file reports quarterly and in electronic form.
SOS/COH must create a searchable, sortable and downloadable public database with the information disclosed in the reports.


Lobbyists must file reports quarterly and in electronic form. SOS/COH must create a searchable, downloadable and sortable public database with the information disclosed in the reports. Lobbyists must file reports quarterly and in electronic form. SOS/COH must create a searchable, sortable and downloadable public database with the information disclosed in the reports. Expands the information lobbyists must disclose, including campaign contributions and client fees. Would require lobbyists to file reports electronically and more often; lobbyists must certify that they did not violate rules; would face criminal penalties for false certifications. Would increase reporting requirements for lobbyists (incorporates McCain bill language for this provision).
Enforce rules on lobbyist disclosure  ? ?     ?