House Lobbying Reform Bill Leaves Major Loophole for Public Universities
Taxpayer advocacy group urges tighter restrictions for public university lobbyists
Washington, DC- Americans for Tax Reform, a taxpayer advocacy group, calls on the U.S. House of Representatives to tighten restrictions on public lobbyists in HR 2316, the House’s lobbying reform bill. While tightening restrictions for all private sector entities, this bill fails to address the major loophole left open for public-sector entities.
Under the “university loophole,” there exist no restrictions for university lobbyists. They continue to enjoy complete immunity from gift bans, and even disclosure requirements.
“Why should lobbyists hired by public universities hold complete immunity from the disclosure and regulatory process enjoyed by no private entity?” said Grover Norquist, taxpayer advocate and president of Americans for Tax Reform. “It is common sense to amend H.R. 2316 to bring all public entities under the same requirements of disclosure and gift regulation as private entities.”
Preserving the university loophole runs contrary to the reasons given for tightening lobbying regulations. This new lobbying reform must both discourage impropriety and discourage the appearance of impropriety. Not avoiding any and all reasons for the mere appearance of impropriety will only contribute to the sentiments of a public already discontented with Congress.
“Why might a Congressman with free tickets on one side of a Notre Dame-Michigan football game be in gross violation of the law, while the one on the other side of the field is not?” continued Norquist. “It’s time for Congress to amend HR 2316.’”