Jan 27 2009
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today welcomed the new lobbying restrictions on firms receiving federal economy recovery funds unveiled today by the Obama Administration.
“The Obama Administration took a welcome step today when it unveiled a series of lobbying restrictions on firms that accept economic rescue funds,” Senator Feinstein said. “It is critical that these funds are used effectively to get our nation’s struggling economy back on track. Taxpayer dollars must not be spent on lobbying or lavish corporate expenditures – so these new regulations are a positive step in the right direction. I look forward to working with the Administration on ways to improve and quickly implement these regulations.”
The lobbying restrictions outlined today by the new Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, reflect some of the concerns addressed in legislation that Senator Feinstein has sponsored with Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) to promote transparency and establish strict accountability standards for firms receiving TARP funds.
Specifically, the Feinstein-Snowe legislation would:
- Prohibit firms receiving economic assistance from Treasury or emergency loans from the Federal Reserve from using such funds for lobbying expenditures or political contributions;
- Require that firms receiving assistance provide detailed, publically available quarterly reports to Treasury outlining how federal funds have been used;
- Establish corporate governance standards to ensure that firms receiving federal assistance do not waste money on unnecessary expenditures; and,
- Create penalties of at least $100,000 per violation for firms that fail to meet the corporate governance standards established in the bill.
The Feinstein-Snowe legislation was originally introduced during the 110th Congress on November 20, 2008, and was reintroduced with a new bill title for the 111th Congress on January 6, 2009.
The bill, called the Troubled Asset Relief Program Transparency Reporting Act (S.133), is also cosponsored by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Joseph Lieberman (I-Ct.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.).