aiming at dealing with unlawful lobbying in the Senate. Both Hastert and Santorum hoped to have their legislation passed by March in order to fix the bad image of the Republican Party before the congressional elections which were to be held in November of the same year.
Democrats, less concerned by lobbying scandals, also announced their own suggestions and said they will closely track Republicans’ plans. Unlike the GOP, Democrats asked for more frequent and detailed reports from lobbyists and their activities. Furthermore, they wanted to increase to two years the length of time in which congresspersons and their aides are forbidden to lobby their former colleagues after leaving the government.
In spite of these good intentions, some issues remain. Instead of limiting the amount of gifts why not banning them right away? Similarly, why not also monitor and put limits on independent political committees known as “Section 527”? Abramoff, who pleaded guilty to fraud, conspiracy and tax evasion charges worked with his prosecutors to bring down unlawful lobbying activities in Congress. Several names have been linked to the investigation within the Republican camp. Tom DeLay, a Republican from Texas, and Bob Ney, a Republican from Ohio denied the charges but the latter was forced to step down as House Administration Committee chairman because of the scandal.
Democrats in Congress benefitted from the circumstances during the 2006 mid-term elections – although lobbying practices were not the only thing that cost the GOP the elections that year. The House Minority Leader of the time, Nancy Pelosi – who is now the Speaker of the House, criticized the proposal made by the Republicans. According to her, it was not going to efficiently address the issues in the system which benefits Republicans. In fact, lobbyists mainly give to them so in exchange they offer hiring preference for lobbying jobs. However, both Pelosi and Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada and Senate Minority leader at the time, imposed these restrictions on their own staffs. An e-mail was sent to every single employee and distributed to other Democratic Senate offices. It read: “No employee in federal offices will be allowed to receive any meals, gifts or travel from lobbyists”. It also stated that “these changes are an effort to lead by example”.