Friday, January 09, 2009

Taking the Chicago Way to Washington: Should Barack Obama Register as a Lobbyist?

Having high-tailed it out of Illinois before the Blagojevich impeachment, the news reports that Barack Obama is pressing Congress for new legislation. Has he registered as a lobbyist? He isn't a senator any more and he isn't the President. Having resigned in Illinois he isn't even under the ethical duties of a lawyer. There is no office of the President-elect, which he wasn't until yesterday, anyway.

I imagine, since influencing Congress is desirable for a new administration that is why Joe Biden didn't resign from the Senate until today and why Rahm Emanuel didn't resign until last week.

Influencing legislation: isn't that the heart of what a lobbyist does? It occurred to me this morning that since Obama resigned from the Senate shortly after the election, aren't the American people entitled to have him register as a lobbyist and have him make required disclosures? Is he above the law? Clearly no one is going to do anything about this, but it's worth considering . . .

The law states:

‘‘(A) SENATORS.—Any person who is a Senator and who, within 2 years after that person leaves office, knowingly makes, with the intent to influence, any communication to or appearance before any Member, officer, or employee of either House of Congress or any employee
of any other legislative office of the Congress, on behalf of any other person (except the United States) in connection with any matter on which such former Senator seeks action by a Member, officer, or employee of either House of Congress, in his or her official capacity, shall be punished
as provided in section 216 of this title."


Post a Comment

<< Home