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Lobbyists oppose plan to reform ethics rules

[JURIST] In a US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs [official website] hearing on lobbying reform [hearing materials] Wednesday, trade group lobbyists questioned the need for the new ethics reform proposal [JURIST report] that would place stricter regulations on lobbyists and lawmakers. The new regulations were proposed shortly after Republican Jack Abramoff [JURIST news archive] pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to charges of mail fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy to corrupt public officials in connection with bribing lawmakers to win favors for his clients. The new rules are meant to increase reporting requirements for lobbyists, limit privately financed trips for lawmakers, and set more stringent restrictions. In testimony before the committee, lobbyists said the new rules are not necessary, and urged Congress instead to focus on enforcing existing ethics rules [House backgrounder]. Public advocacy groups, however, say that a reform of the rules and regulations surrounding lobbying practices is necessary in order to prevent lobbyists from buying influence. Bloomberg has more.

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