Pennsylvania remains one of only ten states that does not limit or ban lobbyists and other special interest advocates from bestowing gifts, entertainment, travel and hospitality perks on legislators and/or other public officials. In testimony...
Citizens must be ever-vigilant about the excessive influence of special interests and their lobbyists, because lobbyists' actions affect nearly every aspect of every Pennsylvanian's life. In 2006, after three decades of work, Common Cause Pennsylvania and its allies succeeded in enacting a lobbying disclosure law that gives Pennsylvanians basic information about state capitol lobbying. Pennsylvania's lobbyists and those who hire them now are required to register with the PA Dept. of State, and submit quarterly financial disclosure reports indicating how much they are spending to achieve success on their endeavors. These disclosures provide citizens access to general information about who is backing various public policy initiatives.
However, the law lacks gift restrictions and the precision necessary to make it fully effective.
Common Cause Pennsylvania is working to fix the problems in the by:
- Banning Pennsylvania's state and local officials from accepting, gifts, trips, hospitality, entertainment, or lodging from any lobbyist or anyone employing a lobbyist
- Requiring full disclosure of any gifts that are permitted, along with the nature, value and circumstance of each gift or benefit provided -- from the very first dollar spent -- and the circumstances under which the gift was given.
- Mandating precision in issue disclosure by requiring lobbyists to report the precise nature of issues being lobbied and the positions they are promoting on the issues they pursue.