Oct 20 2008
Senator Feinstein Seeks Legislation to Ensure that Rescued Companies Don’t Use Taxpayer Dollars for Lobbying Efforts
-Feinstein bill will prohibit rescued companies from using taxpayer dollars for lobbying-
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced that she will introduce federal legislation to ensure that government loans or federal funds granted to ailing companies as part of the recent economic rescue package are not used for lobbying.
Senator Feinstein made the announcement on the same day that American International Group (AIG) declared that it will suspend all lobbying activities. AIG’s move comes three days after Senators Feinstein and Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) sent a letter to the company’s chief executive, Edward Liddy, asking him to stop lobbying efforts by AIG, which has received $120 billion in rescue funds.
“AIG has halted its lobbying efforts, and other companies that have received federal funds as part of the economic rescue bill should do the same,” said Senator Feinstein. “I will introduce legislation to prohibit the use of federal rescue funds or government loans for lobbying purposes. Federal dollars were not intended to be used for lobbying, and it would be unconscionable for these companies to misuse taxpayer dollars in this way.”
Lobbyists working for AIG had recently sought to influence state regulators to delay or weaken provisions of the S.A.F.E. Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008, an effort that was detailed in the Wall Street Journal on October 16. The S.A.F.E. Act, sponsored by Senators Feinstein and Martinez, requires states to develop and implement basic licensing standards for the mortgage industry.
Senator Feinstein is currently reviewing language for a bill to prohibit companies that receive financial “lifelines” from the federal government from using taxpayer dollars to fund lobbying efforts. Senator Feinstein plans to introduce the bill when Congress returns to session.