Press Releases

Washington, DC – Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), in her role as incoming Senate Rules Committee Chairman, will manage floor debate on S. 1, the Senate ethics and lobbying reform bill.

Also managing the bill will be the Ranking Member of the Rules committee, Senator Bob Bennett (R-Utah), and the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, Senators Joe Lieberman (D-CT), and Susan Collins (R-ME).

Floor consideration of the legislation is expected to begin Monday, January 8 and last approximately two weeks.

“In the last election, the message was loud and clear: It’s time to change the way business is done in the nation’s capitol,” Senator Feinstein said. “Passage of this ethics reform package is the straightest, simplest thing we could do to show we have a different Congress in place.”

Following is a summary of the bill:


An Overwhelming Majority of Senators Voted Last Year to Stiffen Ethics Rules and Take a First Step Towards Cleaning Up Washington. The bill would have made significant reforms to ethics and lobbying laws – including banning lobbyist-provided gifts and travel; closing the revolving door; creating a new Senate rule requiring that all earmarks be identified by the Senator proposing the earmark along with an explanation of the essential government purpose of the earmark; and substantially enhancing public disclosure of lobbying activities. [109 th Congress, Senate Vote #82, S. 2349, 3/29/06, complete description below]

The bipartisan leadership of the Senate – Majority Leader Reid, Minority Leader McConnell, Majority Whip Durbin, Minority Whip Lott – and the leadership of Rules and Government Affairs – Rules Chair Feinstein and Ranking Member Bennett, and HSGAC Chair Lieberman and Ranking Member Collins -- have joined together to reintroduce this important bill.

S. 1, The Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007 will start with the important reforms passed last year by the Senate in S.2349 that:

Prohibits Gifts and Travel Paid for by Lobbyists

  • Bans gifts from lobbyists (Sec. 106)
  • Bans travel paid for by lobbyists or in which lobbyists participate (sec. 107(a))
  • Requires full disclosure of travel on non-commercial airplanes (sec. 107(b))

Closes the Revolving Door

  • Extends existing lobbying ban for former members from one to two years (sec. 241)
  • Parallel provision for senior executive branch personnel (sec. 241)
  • Toughens existing lobbying ban for senior staff by prohibiting lobbying contacts with entire body, not just former boss or committee (secs. 108; 241)
  • Requires public disclosure by members of negotiations for private sector employment (sec. 109)
  • Strips floor privileges from former members who become registered lobbyists (sec. 105)

Eliminates Profit from Family Ties

  • Family members may not lobby a member or his office (sec. 110)

Improves Senate Procedures

  • Requires public disclosure of earmark sponsorship (sec. 103)
  • Establishes a point of order against conference reports that have not been made available on the Internet prior to consideration (sec. 104)
  • Establishes a point of order against out-of-scope matters in conference reports (sec. 102)

Improves Lobbying Disclosure

  • Requires lobbying disclosure forms to be filed quarterly rather than semi-annually (sec. 211)
  • Requires lobbyists to report their campaign contributions and fundraisers(sec. 212)
  • Establishes a public database for lobbying disclosure (sec. 213)
  • Requires lobbyists to disclose all prior executive and legislative branch employment (sec. 214)
  • Increases civil penalty for violations of the Lobbying Disclosure Act (sec. 216)
  • Expanded disclosure of lobbying activities (sec. 217)
  • Reports on LDA enforcement (sec. 218)
  • Electronic filing of LDA report (sec. 219)
  • Defines lobbying to include paid astro-turf lobbying (sec. 220)
  • Requires electronic filing for foreign agents (sec. 221)

Brings Transparency to the Senate

  • Makes the “K Street Project” (partisan efforts to influence private sector hiring) a violation of Senate rules(sec. 111)
  • No Cost of Living Adjustment for members who vote against it (sec. 113)
  • GAO audits/ reports under LDA (sec. 231)
  • Mandatory ethics training for members and staff (sec. 232)
  • Annual Ethics Committee reports (sec. 234)

In addition, Democrats are going to improve upon the bill passed by the Senate last year through the introduction of strengthening amendments.

  • Extend ban on gifts to entities that hire lobbyists
  • Extend ban on travel to entities that hire lobbyists.
  • Improve disclosure of earmarks
  • Establish a point of order against “dead of night” additions to conference reports
  • Strengthen criminal anti-corruption laws.
  • Increase criminal penalties for violations of lobbying disclosure laws part of corrupt schemes, like the Abramoff enterprise.