A Bright Line

Common Cause applauds President Obama’s new restrictions announced today on the role lobbyists can play in his new Administration.

“The President understands that the public is deeply skeptical of the ‘old boys club’ environment that has characterized business in Washington for so long,” said Common Cause President Bob Edgar. “It is right and necessary to draw a bright line between lobbyists and the Administration.”

Common Cause has long advocated for the kinds of restrictions President Obama imposed today. In 2007, Common Cause was instrumental in passage of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act. The bill strengthens public disclosure requirements concerning lobbying activity and funding, places more restrictions on gifts for members of Congress and their staff, and provides for mandatory disclosure of earmarks in expenditure bills.

In 2008, Common Cause led the charge to create the first-ever, independent office to oversee House ethics. The new Office of Congressional Ethics is comprised of a six-member panel of non-lawmakers and has the power to initiate and conduct ethics investigations and issue reports and recommendations to the House Ethics Committee. President Obama has indicated that he hopes to create a similar body in the Senate.