By Jonathan Allen - 03/30/06 12:00 AM EST
The Senate passed a lobbying-reform measure yesterday, clearing the first hurdle to enacting legislation aimed at responding to a spate of influence-peddling scandals.
The bill, which passed 90-8, would prohibit lawmakers from accepting gifts – including meals – from lobbyists, require greater disclosure of lobbying activities and allow senators to strike new earmarks from conference reports. The latter proposal would give rank-and-file lawmakers a powerful new weapon to combat the late insertion of new proposals and strengthen the Senate in its negotiations with the House.
“Today’s passage of lobbying reform is an important step forward in bringing more transparency and accountability to our government while strengthening America’s trust and confidence in our public officials,” Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said.