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109th Congress                                            Rept. 109-439
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                      Part 3

======================================================================
 
          LOBBYING ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY ACT OF 2006

                                _______
                                

                 April 25, 2006.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Dreier, from the Committee on Rules, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                             MINORITY VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 4975]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on Rules, to whom was referred the bill (H.R. 
4975) to provide greater transparency with respect to lobbying 
activities, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
report favorably thereon with amendments and recommend that the 
bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Amendments.......................................................     2
Purpose and Summary..............................................     3
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     4
Hearings.........................................................     9
Committee Consideration..........................................     9
Committee Votes..................................................     9
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................    12
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................    12
New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures    12
Committee Cost Estimate..........................................    12
Congressional Budget Office Estimate.............................    13
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................    16
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................    16
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................    16
Applicability to Legislative Branch..............................    17
Exchange of Committee Correspondence.............................    17
Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................    17
Changes in the Rules of the House Made by the Bill, as Reported..    24
Minority, Additional, or Dissenting Views........................    27

                               Amendments

  The amendments (stated in terms of the page and line numbers 
of the introduced bill) are as follows:
  Page 20, strike line 14 and all that follows through page 21, 
line 4, and insert the following:

  ``(d)(1) For the purpose of this section, the term `earmark' 
means a provision in a bill, joint resolution or conference 
report, or language in an accompanying committee report or 
joint statement of managers, providing or recommending a 
specific amount of discretionary budget authority to a non-
Federal entity, if such entity is specifically identified in 
the report or bill; or if the discretionary budget authority is 
allocated outside of the normal formula-driven or competitive 
bidding process and is targeted or directed to an identifiable 
person, specific State, or Congressional district.
  ``(2) For the purpose of paragraph (1), government-sponsored 
enterprises, Federal facilities, and Federal lands shall be 
considered Federal entities.
  ``(3) For the purpose of paragraph (1), to the extent that 
the non-Federal entity is a State or territory, an Indian 
tribe, a foreign government or an intergovernmental 
international organization, the provision or language shall not 
be considered an earmark unless the provision or language also 
specifies the specific purpose for which the designated budget 
authority is to be expended.''.

  Page 21, strike line 5 and all that follows through page 22, 
line 3 and insert the following:

SEC. 502. MANDATORY ETHICS TRAINING FOR HOUSE EMPLOYEES.

  (a) Mandatory Ethics Training for House Employees.--
          (1) Chief administrative officer.--Clause 4 of rule 
        II of the Rules of the House of Representatives is 
        amended by inserting the following new paragraph at the 
        end:
  ``(d) The Chief Administrative Officer may not pay any 
compensation to any employee of the House with respect to any 
pay period during which the employee, as determined by the 
Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, is not in 
compliance with the applicable requirements of regulations 
promulgated pursuant to clause 3(r) of Rule XI.''.
          (2) Mandatory ethics training program.--Clause 3 of 
        rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives is 
        amended by adding at the end the following:
  ``(r) The committee shall establish a program of regular 
ethics training for employees of the House and promulgate 
regulations providing for the following:
          ``(1)(A) Except as otherwise provided, all employees 
        of the House are required to complete ethics training 
        offered by the committee at least once during each 
        congress. Any employee who is hired after the date of 
        adoption of such rules is required to complete such 
        training within 30 days of being hired.
          ``(B) Any employee of the House who works in a 
        Member's district office shall not be required to 
        complete such ethics training until 30 days after the 
        district office has received a notice from the 
        Committee on Standards of Official Conduct that the 
        required ethics training program is available on the 
        Internet.
          ``(2) After any employee of the House completes such 
        ethics training, that employee shall file a written 
        certification with the committee that he is familiar 
        with the contents of any pertinent publications that 
        are so designated by the committee and has completed 
        the required ethics training.
          ``(3) As used in this paragraph, the term `employee 
        of the House' refers to any individual whose 
        compensation is disbursed by the Chief Administrative 
        Officer, including any staff assigned to a Member's 
        personal office, any staff of a committee or leadership 
        office, or any employee of the Office of the Clerk, of 
        the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, or of 
        the Sergeant-at-Arms, but does not include a Member, 
        Delegate, or Resident Commissioner.
  ``(b) Ethics Training for Members, Delegates and the Resident 
Commissioner.--Clause 3 of rule XI of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives is amended by inserting the following new 
paragraph at the end:
  ``(s) The committee shall establish a program of regular 
ethics training for Members, Delegates, and the Resident 
Commissioner similar to the program established in paragraph 
(r), and encourage participation in such program.''.

  Page 2, in the matter following line 2, by striking the item 
relating to section 502 (in the table of sections contained in 
section 1(b)) and inserting the following:

Sec. 502. Mandatory ethics training for House employees.

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 4975, the Lobbying Accountability and Transparency Act 
of 2006, provides greater accountability and transparency with 
respect to lobbying activities, protects the institution of the 
legislative branch of government, and maintains the First 
Amendment right of all Americans to petition their government.
    The bill improves the current disclosure regime under the 
Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 to provide more complete 
disclosures regarding lobbying activity, and requires that they 
be made electronically and rapidly made available in a 
searchable format on the Internet to ensure public access. The 
bill also vests audit authority over those disclosures in the 
House Inspector General, the first time anyone has been given a 
mandate to regularly review these disclosures for accuracy.
    The bill also makes several improvements to the 
institutional functions of the House, including addressing 
potential conflicts arising from employment negotiations of 
Members, an explicit prohibition on the linkage of official 
actions to partisan employment decisions by outside entities, 
and addresses potential problems in the current rules governing 
acceptance of gifts and privately funded travel by Members, 
officers, and employees of the House. The bill also includes 
provisions addressing the potential for a Member convicted of 
certain felonies to face the loss of Government contributions 
to his or her Congressional pension. The bill also establishes 
a new regime for ethics training for House employees and 
ensures that the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct 
maintains up to date information regarding the rules and 
standards which comprise the ethical principles for conduct in 
the House.
    The bill includes a new rule requiring the disclosure of 
earmarks in a general appropriations bill, its report, or an 
accompanying conference report. Finally, the bill includes 
provisions ensuring that so-called ``527'' organizations are 
subject to the same kinds of campaign finance regulations as 
other organizations.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    Scandals involving lobbying in Washington are not new, and 
they have occurred both when Democrats and Republicans have 
held the majority. Perhaps one of the first major scandals 
occurred during the 19th Century's Gilded Age. In the ``Credit 
Mobilier'' scandal in 1872-73, the careers of several 
politicians came to an end when they were found to have taken 
shares in a railroad construction company and then approved 
lucrative Federal subsidies for that company. In the 20th 
Century, there were the Korean Influence investigations in the 
1970s, the ``Abscam'' bribery cases of the 1980s, and the 
``Keating Five'' inquiry of the 1990s. The recent convictions 
and guilty pleas of lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates 
Tony Rudy and Michael Scanlon, as well as the guilty pleas of 
former Representative Randy ``Duke'' Cunningham and of former 
congressional staffer Brett Pfeffer have cast a pall over 
Americans' faith in their government.
    Indeed, in October 2005, an Associated Press-Ipsos poll 
found ``only one-third of Americans give Congress good ratings 
for its ethics and honesty.'' (Will Lister, Associated Press, 
Oct. 29, 2005.) A Washington Post-ABC News poll taken in 
January 2006 showed that 58 percent of those polled thought a 
recent corruption case involving Jack Abramoff was evidence of 
widespread corruption in Washington, and 90 percent thought it 
should be illegal for registered lobbyists to give Members of 
Congress gifts, trips, or other things of value. (Richard Morin 
and Claudia Deane, ``In Abramoff Case, Most See Evidence of 
Wider Problem,'' Washington Post, Jan. 10, 2006, at A7.) 
However, a Pew poll taken about the same time showed that 
``most people around the country aren't paying close 
attention'' to the corruption scandal involving Abramoff. (Will 
Lester, ``Corruption Scandal That Rocked Washington Draws 
Little Scrutiny Elsewhere,'' Associated Press, Jan. 11, 2006.)
    In the wake of these lobbying scandals, it is important to 
keep in mind that lobbying is a constitutionally protected 
profession. The First Amendment to the Constitution provides 
that ``Congress shall make no law * * * abridging the freedom 
of speech * * * and to petition the Government for redress of 
grievances.'' The law that currently governs lobbying, the 
Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (LDA; P.L. No. 104-65, 109 
Stat. 691, 2 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), explicitly recognizes this 
constitutional protection in its section 8, which states 
``Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit or 
interfere with the right to petition the Government . . . [and] 
[n]othing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit, or to 
authorize any court to prohibit, lobbying activities or 
lobbying contacts by any person or entity, regardless of 
whether such person or entity is in compliance with'' the LDA. 
(2 U.S.C. Sec. 1607.)
    Founding Father James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 10 
about the importance to democracy of organized interests or 
what he termed ``factions.'' Madison believed that our 
representative form of government would safeguard against the 
worst impulses of the factions, and that the factions would 
protect the Nation from falling into tyranny. Madison's belief 
in protecting the rights of individuals and organized groups to 
influence the policymaking process has endured for more than 
200 years. Lobbying is an honorable profession, and lobbyists 
do serve an important function in a participatory democracy. As 
Senator Carl Levin, one of the primary authors of the LDA, 
recently stated:

          [L]obbying has assumed a vital role in providing a 
        flow of information in the political process that 
        assists our democracy by improving decision making. 
        Totalitarian regimes don't need lobbyists, because 
        there's no opportunity for persons outside the 
        government to affect the decisions made on the inside 
        of the government. It's just the opposite with a 
        democracy. Information on all sides of issues is 
        crucial to enacting laws that express the will of the 
        people, thereby helping to maintain a vital democratic 
        government. (Forward to The Lobbying Manual: A Complete 
        Guide to Federal Law Governing Lawyers and Lobbyists 
        (William V. Luneburg and Thomas S. Susman eds., 3d ed. 
        at xxvi-xxvii (2005).)

  Thus, in the aftermath of every scandal, the legislative 
reforms that Congress undertakes to protect the public against 
the undue influence of a few criminals have to be balanced by 
the constitutionally protected and democratically important 
role served by the vast majority of lobbyists. One of the 
earliest efforts to find this balance came in1852, when the 
House of Representatives passed a lobbying regulation provision 
prohibiting a newspaperman ``who shall be employed as an agent to 
prosecute any claim pending before Congress'' from being on the floor 
of the House. (Cong. Globe, 32nd Cong., 2d Sess. 52 (1852).) Obviously, 
the balance struck then was that such a newspaperman acting as a 
lobbyist could lobby Members, but not on the House floor. For many 
years, the rules of the House of Representatives have prohibited 
Members from being on the House floor if they have a pecuniary interest 
in the legislation being considered. To respond to concerns about 
former Members who become registered lobbyists abusing their privileges 
as former Members, the House recently amended its rules to prohibit 
former Members who are registered lobbyists from being on the floor of 
the House (or in the rooms adjacent to the floor) or in the Member's 
gym. (H. Res. 648; adopted by the House on February 1, 2006.)
    The first comprehensive lobbying reform legislation came in 
1946, when the Congress passed the Federal Regulation of 
Lobbying Act as a part of the larger Legislative Reorganization 
Act. It required lobbyists to register, to make reports of the 
money they received from clients and spent in support or 
opposition to legislation, and provided criminal penalties for 
non-compliance. From the start, this legislation was considered 
problematic and was substantially re-written by the Supreme 
Court in the case of United States v. Harriss (1954). One of 
the chief complaints about this legislation was that it lacked 
a regularized mechanism for the flow of information about 
lobbyists' reporting from the legislative branch to the 
Department of Justice for prosecution.
    Most recently, the Congress enacted the LDA which requires 
improved disclosure in broad categories about the activities 
and income-making of registered lobbyists. It also includes a 
referral power for the Clerk of the House to the Department of 
Justice for lobbyists' failure to comply with the LDA. The LDA 
has functioned for a little over a decade to give the public 
some access to information regarding the pressures applied to 
the legislative process. In addition, since its enactment, 
Congress has fundamentally revamped the laws governing our 
campaign finance system in order to provide the public with 
more information about contributions made to influence the 
political process.
    However, with the recent Abramoff, Cunningham, Pfeffer, and 
other scandals, there has been a bipartisan groundswell of 
support for major changes to not only the LDA but also to the 
rules of the House governing gifts, travel and other ethics 
matters. The Committee received many suggestions about such 
reform from Members, and H.R. 4975 incorporates a number of 
these suggestions.
    In Title I of the bill, the LDA is substantially improved 
by adding to the quality and quantity of information the public 
receives as well as the speediness with which it is made 
available through technology. For example, for the first time, 
lobbyists will have to electronically disclose on the same form 
to whom they gave gifts and political contributions, and this 
information will have to be promptly posted on the Internet. 
Title II addresses the concerns of the American people about 
Member and staff self-dealing while not unfairly penalizing 
those who choose not to make a career of Federal service. It 
provides that each and every Congressional office that a person 
cannot lobby for their one year ``cooling off'' period under 
the Federal criminal code (i.e., 18 U.S.C. 207(e)) is told in 
writing the start and end date of that period. The former 
Members and staff who are leaving for the private sector are 
also told in writing, and their willful disregard of this 
provision can be prosecuted for a felony with up to five years 
in prison (18 U.S.C. 216.)
    Title III makes improvements to the Rules of the House of 
Representatives for gifts and travel, and addresses many of the 
concerns raised by the behavior of lobbyists such as Abramoff. 
House rules provide that gifts can only be accepted in certain 
circumstances, and they place limits on the overall amounts of 
such gifts. Similarly, registered lobbyists are already 
forbidden in the rules from funding the travel of Members or 
staff. (See rule XXV of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives) Given allegations made in the Abramoff matter 
about whether a proper entity funded Member and staff travel, 
as well as evidence that a large number of Members on both 
sides of the aisle do not understand all of the nuances of the 
current gift and travel rules, the bill suspends all privately 
funded travel while the Committee on Standards of Official 
Conduct makes recommendations to the Committee about these 
matters. The report of the Committee on Standards of Official 
Conduct is to include, among other things, their views about 
the ability of the gift and travel rules to protect the House, 
its Members, and staff from the appearance of impropriety and 
about how privately funded travel can be ethically conducted.
    During the Committee's consideration of this legislation, 
it became clear that many privately funded fact-finding trips 
do provide the Members of the legislative branch of the world's 
only superpower with crucial information necessary to make 
informed decisions on behalf of the American people. While some 
have suggested that drawing a line between an educational trip 
and ``boondoggle'' would not be too difficult, the Committee's 
review of these issues reinforced the need for the Committee on 
Standards of Official Conduct to instruct the Committee about 
what is ethical travel, and how it should be pre-cleared and 
reported. H.R. 4975 requires the Committee on Standards of 
Official Conduct to report its recommendations on these issues 
to the Committee by December 15, 2006. This input is very 
important, for the Standards Committee is the interpreter of 
the Members' Code of Conduct as well as the rules concerning 
gifts and travel. Accordingly, the Committee rejected an 
amendment to strike the section of the bill that suspends 
privately funded travel until the Standards Committee can 
report its recommendations. This amendment also would have 
established a pre-approval and disclosure system through the 
Standards Committee for privately-funded travel, rather than 
allowing for the Standards Committee to first provide its 
expertise to the Committee on these issues.
    Title IV of H.R. 4975 addresses enforcement, an area of 
much criticism in prior efforts at lobbying reform, by 
empowering the House Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to 
conduct random audits of lobbying reports and to make referrals 
to the Department of Justice for violations. This is the first 
time anyone has been given a mandate to regularly review these 
lobbying disclosures for accuracy. Additionally, the rules 
already provide that if the OIG finds information involving 
possible violations of any rule of the House or of any law 
applicable to the performance of official duties, this 
information can be reported to the Committee on Standards of 
Official Conduct. (Clause 6, rule II of the Rules of the House 
of Representatives.) The Constitution, in clause 2, section 5, 
of Article I, gives each House the power to punish its Members 
for misbehavior. The OIG reporting where necessary to the 
Committee on Standards of Official Conduct regarding Member or 
staff conduct, or to the Department of Justice regarding 
lobbyist conduct is the most appropriate enforcement mechanism 
under the Constitution.
    Title V of the bill reforms the earmarking process for 
appropriations, requires frequent and comprehensive ethics 
training for all staff, and requires that the ethics manual be 
regularly updated. Earmark reform is an important part of 
increasing the transparency of how the peoples' business is 
conducted. Regular ethics training with up to date materials 
are key components of restoring and maintaining the public's 
faith in the Congress and ensuring that Members, Officers, and 
employees of the House understand the intricacies of the 
House's standards of conduct.
    During the markup of H.R. 4975, the Committee adopted two 
amendments to title V. First, an amendment was adopted to 
improve the bill by modifying the definition of an ``earmark'' 
in section 501 tocover earmarks where the budget authority is 
directed to a person, State, or Congressional district through a 
Federal agency when it circumvents normal formulas or the competitive 
bidding process. Second, an amendment was adopted to improve section 
502 to require the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct to 
establish a mandatory training program for House employees, and to 
authorize the Chief Administrative Officer of the House of 
Representatives to withhold the pay of any employee who does not 
complete the training at least once per Congress. This amendment also 
directs, within the boundaries of the Constitution, that the Committee 
on Standards of Official Conduct shall establish a training program for 
Members and encourage their participation.
    Title VI closes an important loophole in campaign finance 
law by keeping unlimited soft money out of 527 organizations 
and requiring them to live under the rules that govern other 
political committees. The House recently expressed its approval 
for these provisions by adopting H.R. 513 by a vote of 218-209 
on April 5, 2006. Finally, Title VII of the bill punishes 
Members who abuse the public trust when they are convicted of 
bribery, acting as an agent of a foreign principal, or 
conspiracy to commit these crimes by eliminating their 
taxpayer-funded Member pensions.
    Taken together, these provisions in H.R. 4975 improve the 
transparency of the legislative process while achieving a 
balance between protecting the public and maintaining 
constitutional rights. The legislation provides for faster 
reporting, more information, and greater public access to 
reports filed by lobbyists. It addresses the problem of the 
revolving door between the government and the private sector 
with notice to all affected entities, and it requires 
notification of employment negotiations by Members. It 
prohibits taking official actions to influence hiring decisions 
on a partisan basis. The bill doubles the penalty for 
violations, and it empowers the House Office of the Inspector 
General with broad LDA enforcement and oversight 
responsibilities. It suspends privately funded travel until the 
Committee on Standards of Official Conduct can make 
recommendations to the Committee on travel and gifts. It bans 
registered lobbyists from flying with Members on corporate 
flights, and it values tickets without a price at the highest 
rate possible. It provides real earmarking reform, mandates 
regular ethics training, and requires a biennial publication of 
the ethics manual. It closes an important soft money loophole 
in campaign finance law, and it punishes Members who abuse the 
public trust by preventing them from collecting their taxpayer-
funded Member retirement.
    In conclusion, H.R. 4975, the Lobbying Accountability and 
Transparency Act of 2006, constitutes an important step toward 
providing the American people with better transparency about 
the pressures applied to the legislative branch by lobbyists. 
Informed voters help keep government officials accountable 
while decreasing the power of the back room.
    Even with the existing rules regarding lobbying, criminals 
such as Abramoff, Rudy, Scanlon, Cunningham, and Pfeffer are 
going to jail. Their fates will serve as a warning to anyone 
who seeks to corrupt the American spirit or its institutions. 
Nonetheless, H.R. 4975 further strengthens the rules and laws 
that hold Members, staff, and lobbyists accountable for the 
public trust that they serve.

                                Hearings

    The Committee on Rules held a hearing on H.R. 4975, the 
Lobbying Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, on March 
30, 2006. The Committee heard testimony from the following 
Members: Messrs. Shays, Buyer, Kirk, Ms. Wilson, Ms. Schmidt, 
Messrs. Obey, Frank of Massachusetts, Cardin, Price of North 
Carolina, Meehan, Blumenauer, Doggett, Allen, Baird, Emanuel, 
and Ms. Bean.
    The Committee also held several days of hearings on the 
general topic of lobbying reform on March 2 and 9, 2006. On 
those days of hearings, the Committee heard testimony from: The 
Honorable Karen Haas, Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives, The 
Honorable James Bacchus, Chairman, Global Trade Practice Group, 
Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Dr. Thomas Mann, Ph.D., Senior Fellow 
Brookings Institution, Mr. Paul Miller, President, American 
League of Lobbyists, Dr. Norman Ornstein, Ph.D., Resident 
Scholar, American Enterprise Institute, Dr. James Thurber, 
Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Government and Director of 
the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, American 
University, Mr. Fred Wertheimer, President, Democracy 21, The 
Honorable Mickey Edwards, Director, Aspen Institute-Rodel 
Fellowships in Public Leadership & Lecturer of Public & 
International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton 
University, Mr. Robert Bauer, Firmwide Chair, Political Law 
Practice, Perkins Coie, LLP, Mr. William Daroff, Vice President 
for Public Policy and Director of the Washington Office, United 
Jewish Communities, Mr. Michael G. Franc, Vice President, 
Government Relations, The Heritage Foundation, and Mr. Robert 
Hynes, Principal, Colling Murphy Swift Hynes.

                        Committee Consideration

    The Committee on Rules met on April 5, 2006 in open session 
and ordered H.R. 4975 favorably reported to the House as 
amended by a voice vote.

                            Committee Votes

    Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires the Committee to list the record votes 
on the motion to report legislation and amendments thereto. A 
motion by Mr. Lincoln Diaz-Balart of Florida to report the bill 
to the House with a favorable recommendation was agreed to by a 
voice vote. Record votes were ordered on the following 
amendments; the names of Members voting for and against follow:

Rules Committee Record Vote No. 167

    An amendment by Ms. Slaughter, No. 2, to require an 
itemized list of any scope violations in the rule providing for 
consideration of a conference report (items that were not in 
either the House or Senate passed versions of the bill), to 
provide for a consideration point of order when this rule is 
violated, and to provide a motion to strike items that are 
beyond the scope of a conference, was not agreed to by a record 
vote of 4 yeas and 9 nays:
    Mr. Dreier, Chairman--Nay; Mr. Diaz-Balart--Nay; Mr. 
Hastings (WA)--Nay; Mr. Sessions--Nay; Mr. Putnam--Nay; Ms. 
Capito--Nay; Mr. Cole--Nay; Mr. Bishop--Nay; Mr. Gingrey--Nay; 
Mrs. Slaughter--Yea; Mr. McGovern--Yea; Mr. Hastings (FL)--Yea; 
Mrs. Matsui--Yea.

Rules Committee Record Vote No. 168

    An amendment by Ms. Slaughter, No. 4, to require, whenever 
a recorded vote is held open for more than 30 minutes, that the 
Congressional Record include a log of the voting activity that 
occurs after that 30-minute time frame to show which Members 
voted after that time and which Members changed their votes 
during that period, was not agreed to by a record vote of 4 
yeas and 9 nays:
    Mr. Dreier, Chairman--Nay; Mr. Diaz-Balart--Nay; Mr. 
Hastings (WA)--Nay; Mr. Sessions--Nay; Mr. Putnam--Nay; Ms. 
Capito--Nay; Mr. Cole--Nay; Mr. Bishop--Nay; Mr. Gingrey--Nay; 
Mrs. Slaughter--Yea; Mr. McGovern--Yea; Mr. Hastings (FL)--Yea; 
Mrs. Matsui--Yea

Rules Committee Record Vote No. 169

    An amendment by Ms. Slaughter, No. 5, creating a new 
Majority/Minority Leader point of order that can be raised 
against consideration of a conference report where the 
integrity of the conference is in question, was not agreed to 
by a record vote of 4 yeas and 9 nays:
    Mr. Dreier, Chairman--Nay; Mr. Diaz-Balart--Nay; Mr. 
Hastings (WA)--Nay; Mr. Sessions--Nay; Mr. Putnam--Nay; Ms. 
Capito--Nay; Mr. Cole--Nay; Mr. Bishop--Nay; Mr. Gingrey--Nay; 
Mrs. Slaughter--Yea; Mr. McGovern--Yea; Mr. Hastings (FL)--Yea; 
Mrs. Matsui--Yea

Rules Committee Record Vote No. 170

    An amendment by Ms. Slaughter, No. 6, providing that staff 
on the Committee of Standards of Official Conduct can be 
dismissed only by an affirmative vote of the Standards 
Committee, was not agreed to by a record vote of 4 yeas and 9 
nays:
    Mr. Dreier, Chairman--Nay; Mr. Diaz-Balart--Nay; Mr. 
Hastings (WA)--Nay; Mr. Sessions--Nay; Mr. Putnam--Nay; Ms. 
Capito--Nay; Mr. Cole--Nay; Mr. Bishop--Nay; Mr. Gingrey--Nay; 
Mrs. Slaughter--Yea; Mr. McGovern--Yea; Mr. Hastings (FL)--Yea; 
Mrs. Matsui--Yea

Rules Committee Record Vote No. 171

    An amendment by Mr. McGovern, No. 7, providing that 
whenever 3-day layover is waived against a conference report, 
it is in order for a Member to raise a point of order to 
determine whether the House will consider the conference 
report, was not agreed to by a record vote of 4 yeas and 9 
nays:
    Mr. Dreier, Chairman--Nay; Mr. Diaz-Balart--Nay; Mr. 
Hastings (WA)--Nay; Mr. Sessions--Nay; Mr. Putnam--Nay; Ms. 
Capito--Nay; Mr. Cole--Nay; Mr. Bishop--Nay; Mr. Gingrey--Nay; 
Mrs. Slaughter--Yea; Mr. McGovern--Yea; Mr. Hastings (FL)--Yea; 
Mrs. Matsui--Yea

Rules Committee Record Vote No. 172

    An amendment by Mr. McGovern, No. 8, regulating Member 
travel on private jets by requiring Members to pay full charter 
costs when using corporate jets for official travel and to 
disclose relevant information in the Congressional Record, 
including the owner or lessee of the aircraft and the other 
passengers on the flight, was not agreed to by a record vote of 
4 yeas and 9 nays:
    Mr. Dreier, Chairman--Nay; Mr. Diaz-Balart--Nay; Mr. 
Hastings (WA)--Nay; Mr. Sessions--Nay; Mr. Putnam--Nay; Ms. 
Capito--Nay; Mr. Cole--Nay; Mr. Bishop--Nay; Mr. Gingrey--Nay; 
Mrs. Slaughter--Yea; Mr. McGovern--Yea; Mr. Hastings (FL)--Yea; 
Mrs. Matsui--Yea

Rules Committee Record Vote No. 173

    An amendment by Mr. McGovern, No. 9, clarifying that the 
``face value'' of a ticket for the purposes of section 304 
means the cost of that ticket if a member of the general public 
were purchasing it, was not agreed to by a record vote of 4 
yeas and 9 nays:
    Mr. Dreier, Chairman--Nay; Mr. Diaz-Balart--Nay; Mr. 
Hastings (WA)--Nay; Mr. Sessions--Nay; Mr. Putnam--Nay; Ms. 
Capito--Nay; Mr. Cole--Nay; Mr. Bishop--Nay; Mr. Gingrey--Nay; 
Mrs. Slaughter--Yea; Mr. McGovern--Yea; Mr. Hastings (FL)--Yea; 
Mrs. Matsui--Yea

Rules Committee Record Vote No. 174

    An amendment by Mr. Hastings of Florida, No. 11, 
establishing a pre-approval and post-travel disclosure system 
through the Standards Committee for privately-funded travel, 
was not agreed to by a record vote of 3 yeas and 8 nays:
    Mr. Dreier, Chairman--Nay; Mr. Diaz-Balart--Nay; Mr. 
Hastings (WA)--Nay; Mr. Putnam--Nay; Mrs. Capito--Nay; Mr. 
Cole--Nay; Mr. Bishop--Nay; Mr. Gingrey--Nay; Mr. McGovern--
Yea; Mr. Hastings (FL)--Yea; Mrs. Matsui--Yea

Rules Committee Record Vote No. 175

    An amendment by Ms. Matsui, No. 12, requiring a roll-call 
vote, in an open meeting, on the final version of a conference 
report, was not agreed to by a record vote of 4 yeas and 7 
nays:
    Mr. Dreier, Chairman--Nay; Mr. Hastings (WA)--Nay; Mr. 
Sessions--Nay; Mr. Putnam--Nay; Mrs. Capito--Nay; Mr. Bishop--
Nay; Mr. Gingrey--Nay; Mrs. Slaughter--Yea; Mr. McGovern--Yea; 
Mr. Hastings (FL)--Yea; Mrs. Matsui--Yea

Rules Committee Record Vote No. 176

    An amendment by Ms. Matsui, No. 13, changing the waiting 
pe- riod before a resolution reported by the Committee on Rules 
may be considered on the House Floor after it is reported from 
one legislative day to a 24-hour period, was not agreed to by a 
record vote of 4 yeas and 8 nays:
    Mr. Dreier, Chairman--Nay; Mr. Hastings (WA)--Nay; Mr. 
Sessions--Nay; Mr. Putnam--Nay; Mrs. Capito--Nay; Mr. Cole--
Nay; Mr. Bishop--Nay; Mr. Gingrey--Nay; Mrs. Slaughter--Yea; 
Mr. McGovern--Yea; Mr. Hastings (FL)--Yea; Mrs. Matsui--Yea
    The following amendments were also considered:
    An amendment by Mrs. Capito, No. 1, improving the training 
provisions of the bill to require the Committee on Standards of 
Official Conduct to establish a mandatory training program for 
House employees, and authorizing the CAO to withhold the pay of 
any employee who does not complete the training at least once 
per Congress, was agreed to by a voice vote.
    A second degree amendment to the amendment by Mrs. Capito 
by Mr. McGovern, No. 1a, striking section 502(a)(1) (regarding 
the withholding of employee pay for not completing the required 
ethics training), to the Capito Amendment No. 1, was not agreed 
to by voice vote.
    An amendment by Mr. Gingrey, No. 3, modifying the 
definition of ``earmark'' in section 501 to cover earmarks 
where the budget authority is directed to a person, State, or 
Congressional district through a Federal agency when it 
circumvents normal formulas or competitive bidding process, was 
agreed to by voice vote.
    An amendment by Mr. Hastings of Florida, No. 11, mandating 
public disclosure of which Members sponsor earmarks and 
disclosure of whether Members have a financial interest in the 
earmark, and providing that earmarks include authorizations, 
appropriations, and tax provisions, was not agreed to by voice 
vote.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee made findings that are 
reflected in this report.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee establishes the 
following performance related goals and objectives for this 
legislation:
    Utilizing the authority granted in this legislation, the 
Clerk of the House of Representatives will initiate a more 
robust electronic reporting and disclosure system to track and 
make available to the public the activities of lobbyists, and 
the Inspector General of the House will utilize the authority 
granted by the bill to ensure the accuracy of the information 
reported pursuant to the Lobby Disclosure Act, as amended.

   New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee finds that this 
legislation would result in no new budget authority, 
entitlement authority, or tax expenditures or revenues.

                        Committee Cost Estimate

    The Committee adopts as its own the cost estimate prepared 
by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to 
section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

                  Congressional Budget Office Estimate

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the following is the cost estimate 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to section 
402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974:
                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                    Washington, DC, April 19, 2006.
Hon. David Drier,
Chairman, Committee on Rules,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 4975, the Lobbying 
Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contacts are Matthew 
Pickford (for federal costs) and Craig Cammarata (for the 
private-sector impact).
            Sincerely,
                                          Donald B. Marron,
                                                   Acting Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 4975--Lobbying Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006

    Summary: H.R. 4975 would amend the Lobbying Disclosure Act 
of 1995 and the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971. Major 
provisions of the legislation would expand reporting 
requirements for lobbyists and Members of Congress, temporarily 
ban privately funded travel, create additional restrictions on 
gifts and travel, and require training for Members and staff on 
ethics issues. The legislation also would eliminate pension 
benefits for Members convicted of certain offenses. In 
addition, H.R. 4975 would require certain political 
organizations involved in federal election activities to 
register with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
    CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 4975 would cost about 
$2 million in fiscal year 2007 and $1 million a year in 
subsequent years, subject to the availability of appropriated 
funds. Enacting the bill could affect direct spending and 
revenues from reduced pensions for certain Members of Congress, 
and new violations of campaign finance laws, but CBO estimates 
that those effects would not be significant.
    H.R. 4975 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined 
in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no 
costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    H.R. 4975 would impose several private-sector mandates, as 
defined in UMRA, on the lobbying industry and certain political 
organizations. Based on information from government sources, 
CBO estimates that the total direct cost of all of the mandates 
in the bill would fall below the annual threshold established 
by UMRA for private-sector mandates ($128 million in 2006, 
adjusted annually for inflation).
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of H.R. 4975 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 800 
(general government).

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                      By fiscal year, in millions of
                                                 dollars--
                                 ---------------------------------------
                                   2007    2008    2009    2010    2011
------------------------------------------------------------------------
            CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION \1\

Estmated Authorization Level....       2       1       1       1       1
Estimated Outlays...............       2       1       1       1       1
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Enacting the bill could also reduce pensions for certain Members of
  Congress, and increase revenues from civil penalties, but CBO
  estimates any such effects would be less than $500,000 a year.

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that the 
bill will be enacted near the end of fiscal year 2006 and that 
spending will follow historical patterns for similar 
activities.

Spending subject to appropriation

    The legislation would expand reporting requirements for 
lobbyists and would require the Congress to provide Members and 
staff with additional training on ethics issues. Based on 
information from Congressional administrative staff, CBO 
estimates that Congressional offices and committees would spend 
about $1 million annually to collect and disseminate newly 
reported information from lobbyists and to provide the required 
ethics training.
    In addition, H.R. 4975 would require certain political 
organizations, defined by section 527 of the tax code, to 
register with the FEC. Based on information from the FEC and 
subject to the availability of appropriated funds, CBO 
estimates that implementing the legislation would cost the FEC 
about $1 million in fiscal year 2007. This cost covers the one-
time computer-related expenses as well as writing new 
regulations to implement the new provisions of the legislation. 
In future years, the legislation would increase general 
administrative costs to the FEC, but we estimate that those 
additional costs would not be significant.

Revenues and direct spending

    Enacting H.R. 4975 would likely increase collections of 
fines and penalties for violations of campaign finance law for 
failure to register with the FEC. Such collections are recorded 
in the budget as revenues. CBO estimates that the additional 
collections of penalties and fines would not be significant 
because of the relatively small number of cases likely to be 
involved.
    H.R. 4975 would also deny pension benefits (based on 
periods of elected service) to Members convicted of bribery, 
acting as foreign agents, or defrauding the federal government. 
CBO estimates that any savings in direct spending as a result 
of this provision would not be significant because we expect 
that the number of violations would be small.
    Estimated impact on State, local, and tribal governments: 
H.R. 4975 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined in 
the UMRA and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    Estimated impact on the private sector: H.R. 4975 would 
impose several private-sector mandates, as defined in UMRA, on 
the lobbying industry and certain political organizations. The 
bill would impose new restrictions on lobbying activities and 
require lobbyists and lobbying organizations to submit 
additional reports and disclosures to the Senate Office of 
Public Records and the Office of the Clerk of the House. The 
bill also would require certain 527 organizations to register 
as political committees with the Federal Election Commission 
and comply with current regulations on federal campaign 
finance. Based on information from government sources, CBO 
estimates that the total direct cost of all of the mandates in 
the bill would fall below the annual threshold established by 
UMRA for private-sector mandates ($128 million in 2006, 
adjusted annually for inflation).
    The bill would impose several new requirements on lobbyists 
and lobbying organizations. Requirements on lobbyists and 
lobbying organizations would include but not be limited to:
           Electronic filing of lobbyist registrations 
        and disclosure reports filed with the Secretary of the 
        Senate or the Clerk of the House of Representatives;
           Quarterly, instead of semiannual, filing of 
        lobbying disclosure reports; and
           Additional information in registration and 
        disclosure reports including information on: 
        contributions to Members, Congressional staff, federal 
        officers and political entities by lobbyists; any gifts 
        distributed by lobbying entities; and whether or not 
        each registered lobbyist had prior experience as a 
        covered executive or legislative branch official.
    As of January 1, 2006, all lobbyists and lobbying 
organizations must register and file semiannual disclosure 
reports electronically to the Clerk of the House. However, 
electronic reporting is still optional for lobbyists and 
lobbying organizations filing in the Senate. Since all 
lobbyists must file similar reports to both the Clerk of the 
House and the Secretary of the Senate, the incremental cost of 
filing reports electronically to the Senate should be minimal. 
Generally, because such entities already collect the 
information requested in the registration and disclosure 
reports, CBO estimates that the incremental costs associated 
with the new reporting requirements in the bill would not be 
substantial relative to UMRA's annual threshold for private-
sector mandates.
    The bill also would prohibit lobbyists from traveling on an 
aircraft that is owned by a client and is not licensed by the 
FAA to operate for compensation if a Member, delegate, resident 
commissioner, officer or employee of the House is on board. 
According to government and industry sources, roughly 500 or 
less of those recorded flights are made each year. That 
estimate includes federal officials and staff from both the 
executive and legislative branches. H.R. 4975 would only 
restrict the travel of a lobbyist with House officials and 
staff. The bill would not prohibit employees of the client from 
traveling on such planes with a Member, delegate, resident 
commissioner, officer or employee of the House. Thus, CBO 
estimates that the direct costs associated with complying with 
the mandate would be minimal compared to UMRA's threshold.
    The bill would change the definition of a political 
committee to include certain ``527'' organizations, as defined 
by section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code. Those 
organizations would be required to register as political 
committees with the FEC and comply with current regulations on 
federal campaign finance including certain limits on 
contributions and reporting and disclosure requirements. Based 
on information from the FEC, CBO estimates that the direct 
costs associated with those requirements would be minimal.
    Previous CBO estimates: Many of the lobbying reform and 
campaign finance provisions in the eight pieces of legislation 
listed below are contained in H.R. 4975. The differences among 
these bills are reflected in the cost estimates. However, the 
four versions of H.R. 4975 are very similar, and as such, their 
estimated costs are nearly identical.
     On April 19, 2006, CBO transmitted a cost estimate 
for H.R. 4975 as ordered reported by the House Committee on 
Government Reform on April 6, 2006.
     On April 19, 2006, CBO transmitted a cost estimate 
for H.R. 4975 as ordered reported by the House Committee on 
House Administration on April 6, 2006.
     On April 19, 2006, CBO transmitted a cost estimate 
for H.R. 4975 as ordered reported by the House Committee on the 
Judiciary on April 5, 2006.
     On March 7, 2006, CBO transmitted a cost estimate 
for S. 2349, the Legislative Transparency and Accountability 
Act of 2006, as ordered reported by the Senate Committee on 
Rules and Administration on March 1, 2006.
     On March 6, 2006, CBO transmitted a cost estimate 
for S. 2128, the Lobbying Transparency and Accountability Act 
of 2006, as ordered reported by the Senate Committee on 
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on March 3, 2006.
     On July 13, 2005, CBO transmitted a cost estimate 
for H.R. 513, the 527 Reform Act of 2005, as ordered reported 
by the House Committee on Administration on June 29, 2005.
     On July 6, 2005, CBO transmitted a cost estimate 
for S. 1053, the 527 Reform Act of 2005, as ordered reported by 
the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration on April 27, 
2005.
     On June 17, 2005, CBO transmitted a cost estimate 
for H.R. 1316, the 527 Fairness Act of 2005, as ordered 
reported by the House Committee on House Administration on June 
8, 2005.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Matthew Pickford and 
Deborah Reis. Impact on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: 
Sarah Puro. Impact on the Private-Sector: Craig Cammarata.
    Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                       Federal Mandates Statement

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of Federal 
mandates prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 423 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act.

                      Advisory Committee Statement

    No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) 
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act were created by this 
legislation.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Pursuant to clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds that the 
Constitutional authority of Congress to enact this legislation 
is provided by article 1, section 5, clause 2 of the 
Constitution of the United States (relating to each House of 
Congress determining the rules of its proceedings).

                Applicability to the Legislative Branch

    The Committee finds that the legislation addresses the 
terms and conditions of employment or access to public services 
or accommodations within the meaning of section 102(b)(3) of 
the Congressional Accountability Act only insofar as they 
relate to the Legislative Branch, so a statement as to their 
applicability is not required.

             Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation


Section 1. Short title; table of contents

    This section provides the short title of the bill, the 
Lobbying Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, and 
provides a table of contents.

                 TITLE I--ENHANCING LOBBYING DISCLOSURE

Section 101. Quarterly filing of lobbying disclosure reports

    Section 101 amends section 5 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act 
of 1995 to provide for quarterly filing of reports under the 
Act, rather than the semiannual reporting requirement under 
existing law, and makes other conforming changes.

Section 102. Electronic filing of lobbying registrations and disclosure 
        reports

    Section 102 provides that registrations and reports 
mandated under the LDA must be filed electronically in addition 
to any other form that may be required by the Secretary of the 
Senate (Secretary) and the Clerk of the House (Clerk). The 
provision also permits the Secretary and the Clerk to grant 
extensions for the time to file electronically if (1) the 
registrant files in every form required other than electronic, 
and (2) the Secretary or Clerk finds good cause to extend the 
due date upon a request by the registrant.

Section 103. Public database of lobbying disclosure information

    This section mandates that the Secretary and the Clerk 
maintain a searchable, sortable, and downloadable electronic 
database freely available to the public over the Internet that 
includes the information contained in registrations and reports 
filed under the LDA and is searchable and sortable, at a 
minimum, by each of the major categories of information 
required in the registrations and reports. It also provides 
that registrations or reports received electronically by the 
Secretary or Clerk must be made available for public inspection 
over the Internet not later than 48 hours after they are 
received. Finally, it authorizes such sums as may be necessary 
to carry out these provisions.

Section 104. Disclosure by registered lobbyists of past executive 
        branch and congressional employment

    Section 104 amends the LDA by extending the current 
requirement to disclose past Congressional and executive branch 
employment from the current 2 years to 7 years.

Section 105. Disclosure of lobbyist contributions and gifts

    Section 105 requires each registrant (and each political 
committee affiliated with or each employee listed as a lobbyist 
by that registrant) to report the recipient, date, and amount 
of each contribution made to a Federal candidate or 
officeholder, leadership PAC, political party committee, or 
other political committee, so long as that contribution must be 
reported to the Federal Election Commission.
    The section also requires the reporting of any gifts given 
to a covered legislative branch official which counts toward 
the cumulative annual limit for gifts under the Rules of the 
House of Representatives.

Section 106. Increased penalty for failure to comply with lobbying 
        disclosure requirements

    This section increases the civil penalties under the LDA 
from a maximum of $50,000 to $100,000.

                  TITLE II--SLOWING THE REVOLVING DOOR

Section 201. Notification of post-employment restrictions

    This section amends the post-employment restrictions 
contained in section 207(e) of title 18, United States Code, to 
direct the Clerk, in consultation with the Committee on 
Standards of Official Conduct, to inform a Member, officer, or 
employee who is subject to the post-employment restrictions on 
lobbying contacts contained in that section of the beginning 
and ending dates of the restriction. The Clerk must also inform 
each office of the House to which the restriction applies of 
the restriction as well.

Section 202. Disclosure by Members of the House of Representatives of 
        employment negotiations

    Section 202 amends the Code of Official Conduct contained 
in rule XXIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives to 
require that once a Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner 
begins negotiating compensation for prospective employment (or 
has any other arrangement concerning prospective employment 
that creates a conflict of interest or the appearance of a 
conflict of interest), he or she must file a statement with the 
Committee on Standards of Official Conduct disclosing the 
negotiations within 5 days after commencing the negotiation. 
The section also provides that the Member, Delegate, or 
Resident Commissioner should refrain from voting on any 
legislative measure pending before the House or its committees 
if the negotiation may create a conflict of interest.

Section 203. Wrongly influencing, on a partisan basis, an entity's 
        employment decisions or practices

    Section 203 amends the Code of Conduct to explicitly 
restate the existing standards of conduct for Members, 
officers, and employees of the House that it is improper to 
condition the taking or withholding of an official act, or 
influence or offer or threaten to influence, the official act 
of another, in return for a private or public entity's 
employment decision or practice based on partisan political 
affiliation.

  TITLE III--SUSPENSION OF PRIVATELY FUNDED TRAVEL; CURBING LOBBYIST 
                                 GIFTS

Section 301. Suspension of privately-funded travel

    Section 301 provides that, notwithstanding the exceptions 
described in clause 5 of rule XXV of the Rules of the House, no 
Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer or employee of 
the House may accept a gift of travel from any private source.

Section 302. Recommendations from the Committee on Standards of 
        Official Conduct on gifts and travel

    Section 302 directs the Committee on Standards of Official 
Conduct to report its recommendations on changes to rule XXV of 
the Rules of the House (regarding acceptance of gifts and 
travel) to the Committee on Rules on or before December 15, 
2006. In reporting its recommendations, the Committee on 
Standards is directed to consider a number of issues, including 
whether the current rules protect Members, officers, and 
employees from the appearance of impropriety, the degree to 
which privately-funded travel meets the representational needs 
of Members, officers, and employees, the sources and methods of 
funding for privately-funded travel, the adequacy of the 
current system of approval and disclosure of privately-funded 
travel, the degree to which the current exceptions to the 
prohibition on the acceptance of gifts contained in rule XXV 
meet the representational and personal needs of the House, its 
Members, officers, and employees, the clarity of the limitation 
and its exceptions, and the suitability of the current dollar 
limitations contained in the rule.

Section 303. Prohibiting registered lobbyists on corporate flights

    Section 303 amends the LDA to prohibit a registered 
lobbyist from traveling as a passenger or crew member aboard 
the flight of an aircraft not licensed by the Federal Aviation 
Administration to operate for compensation or hire and which is 
owned by the client of a lobbyist or lobbying firm when a 
Member, officer, or employee of the House is also a passenger 
or crew member on the same flight.

Section 304. Valuation of tickets to sporting and entertainment events

    This section amends rule XXV of the Rules of the House to 
provide that, for purposes of valuation under that rule, a gift 
of a ticket to a sporting or entertainment event must be valued 
at the face value of the ticket, except that when the ticket 
does not have a face value, it must be valued at the highest 
cost of a ticket with a face value for the event.

            TITLE IV--OVERSIGHT OF LOBBYING AND ENFORCEMENT

Section 401. Audits of lobbying reports by House Inspector General

    This section authorizes the Office of the Inspector General 
of the House of Representatives to have access to all 
registrations and reports received by the Clerk of the House 
under the LDA. Further, the Inspector General is directed to 
conduct random audits of that information as necessary to 
ensure compliance with the Act. The section also grants the 
Inspector General the authority to refer violations of the LDA 
to the Department of Justice. The Committee notes that clause 
6(a)(5) of rule II of the Rules of the House already grants the 
Inspector General the authority to refer ``information 
involving possible violations by a Member, Delegate, Resident 
Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House of any rule of 
the House or of any law applicable to the performance of 
official duties or the discharge of official responsibilities'' 
to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct. The 
Committee expects that the Office of the Inspector General 
would exercise this authority if it found any potential 
violations during the audit process authorized by this section.

Section 402. House Inspector General review and annual reports

    Subsection (a) requires that the Inspector General of the 
House review on an ongoing basis the effectiveness of the 
activities carried out by the Clerk under section 6 of the LDA, 
and whether the Clerk has all of the necessary authority and 
resources for effective oversight and compliance of the Act. 
Subsection (b) requires that the Inspector General submit an 
annual report on the review, including any recommendations for 
improvements.

                     TITLE V--INSTITUTIONAL REFORMS

Section 501. Earmarking reform

    This section provides a special order of the House 
providing that it will not be in order to consider (1) a 
general appropriation bill unless the bill includes a list of 
earmarks in the bill or in the report to accompany the bill, 
including the name of any Member who submitted a request to the 
Committee on Appropriations for an earmark included in the 
list, or (2) the conference report accompanying a general 
appropriation bill unless the joint explanatory statement of 
managers accompanying that conference report includes a list of 
earmarks, including the name of any Member who submitted a 
request to the Committee on Appropriations for an earmark 
included in the list, which were not committed to conference by 
either House or were not in the report accompanying the House 
or Senate bills. If a rule waives the application of this order 
to a conference report, a point of order lies against the rule.
    Disposition of the point of order against the bill (or 
against the rule in the case of a conference report) will be as 
a question of consideration put by the Chair, and debatable for 
20 minutes, equally divided between a proponent and opponent.
    The section defines an ``earmark'' as a provision in either 
legislative or report language providing or recommending a 
specific amount of discretionary budget authority to a non-
Federal entity, if that entity is specifically identified in 
the bill or report, or if the budget authority is allocated 
outside of the normal formula-driven or competitive bidding 
process and is targeted or directed to an identifiable person, 
State, or Congressional district. The definition also describes 
the treatment of government sponsored enterprises, Federal 
facilities, Federal lands, Indian tribes, foreign governments, 
and intergovernmental international organizations.

Section 502. Mandatory ethics training for House employees

    This section amends rule II of the Rules of the House to 
prohibit the Chief Administrative Officer (``CAO'') from paying 
compensation to an employee of the House when the Committee on 
Standards of Official Conduct has determined that the employee 
is not in compliance with the regulations regarding mandatory 
ethics training issued pursuant to clause 3(r) of rule XI. The 
Committee anticipates that this provision will be rarely used, 
and that the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct will 
make every effort to bring the employee in question into 
compliance with the regulations prior to making the 
determination described in this provision.
    It also amends rule XI to direct the Committee on Standards 
of Official Conduct to establish a mandatory program of regular 
ethics training for employees of the House. The regulations 
must provide that each employee of the House must complete 
ethics training offered by the Committee on Standards of 
Official Conduct at least once during each congress. Employees 
hired after the adoption of the regulations must complete the 
training within 30 days of being hired. Furthermore, the 
requirement is tolled for any employee who works in a Member's 
district office until 30 days after that office is notified 
that the training is available over the Internet.
    Upon the completion of training, each employee is required 
to file a written certification with the Committee on Standards 
of Official Conduct that the employee has completed the 
required ethics training and is familiar with the contents of 
any publications designated by the Standards Committee. 
Employees are defined as any individual whosecompensation is 
disbursed by the CAO, but does specifically does not include a Member, 
Delegate, or Resident Commissioner.
    While the Committee recognizes that a mandatory requirement 
for the ethics training of Members could be construed as a 
qualification of service that could raise Constitutional 
questions, the Committee believes that ethics training for 
Members is vitally important so that they know and understand 
the rules and laws applicable to their service. To that end, 
the section also directs the Committee on Standards of Official 
Conduct to establish a program of regular ethics training for 
Members, Delegates, and the Resident Commissioner similar to 
the program established for employees of the House, and 
encourage Member participation in the program.

Section 503. Biennial publication of ethics manual

    This section requires that, not later than 120 days after 
the enactment of this legislation, and one time in each 
Congress thereafter, the Committee on Standards of Official 
Conduct publish an up-to-date ethics manual for Members, 
officers, and employees of the House and make the manual 
available to those individuals. It further provides that the 
Standards Committee has a duty to keep all Members, officers, 
and employees of the House apprised of current rulings or 
advisory opinions when those rulings or opinions constitute 
changes to or interpretations of current policies.

             TITLE VI--REFORM OF SECTION 527 ORGANIZATIONS

Section 601. Short title

    This section provides the short title of this title, the 
527 Reform Act of 2006.

Section 602. Treatment of section 527 organizations

    This section amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 
1971 (FECA; 2 U.S.C. 431 et seq.) to require 527 groups to 
register as political committees with the Federal Election 
Commission (FEC) and comply with Federal campaign finance laws, 
unless they raise and spend money exclusively in connection 
with non-Federal candidate elections, state or local ballot 
initiatives, or the nomination or confirmation of individuals 
to non-elected offices, such as judicial positions. The bill 
provides a narrow exception for 527 groups whose annual 
receipts are less than $25,000, or whose activities are related 
exclusively to state or local elections or ballot initiatives. 
However, this exception doesn't apply if a 527 group spends 
more then $1,000 (aggregate) to transmit a public communication 
that promotes, supports, attacks, or opposes a Federal 
candidate in the year prior to a Federal election, or spends 
more than $1,000 (aggregate) to conduct any voter drive 
activities in connection with an election in which a Federal 
candidate appears on the ballot. However, the bill makes 
further exceptions for groups that make voter drive 
disbursements with respect to elections in only 1 state, make 
no references or contributions to Federal candidates, or have 
no Federal candidates, officeholders, or national political 
parties control or materially participate in the direction of 
the organization, solicit contributions, or direct 
disbursements.
    This section also provides that 527 groups registered as 
political committees can only use Federal hard money 
contributions to finance ads that promote or attack Federal 
candidates, regardless of whether the ads expressly advocate 
the election or defeat of the candidate.

Section 603. Rules for allocation of expenses between Federal and non-
        Federal Activities

    This section generally sets forth rules for allocation and 
funding for certain expenses relating to Federal and non-
Federal activities of political committees. When a Federal 
political committee makes expenditures for voter mobilization 
activities or public communications that affect both Federal 
and non-Federal elections, at least 50% of the costs of those 
activities would have to be paid for with Federal hard money 
contributions. Further, at least 50% of administrative and 
fundraising expenses must be paid with funds from a Federal 
account (not including fundraising solicitations or any other 
activity that constitutes a public communication).
    With regard to the non-Federal funds that can be used to 
finance a portion of voter mobilization activities and public 
communications that affect both Federal and non-Federal 
elections, those funds must come from individuals only and must 
be in amounts of not more than $25,000 per year per individual 
donor. National political parties and Federal candidates are 
prohibited from soliciting funds for these non-Federal 
accounts. [This is similar to the provision in the Bipartisan 
Campaign Reform Act of 2002 that places a limit on the size of 
a non-Federal contribution that can be spent by state parties 
on activities affecting both Federal and non-Federal elections. 
$25,000 is the same amount that an individual can contribute to 
a national political party. An individual can give only $5,000 
per year to a Federal political committee to influence Federal 
elections.] The section also requires that 527s must report all 
receipts and disbursements from a qualified non-Federal 
account.
    Finally, the provision directs the FEC to promulgate 
regulations within 180 days to implement these provisions and 
establishes the effective date as 180 days after the date of 
enactment of the legislation.

Section 604. Repeal of limit on amount of party expenditures on behalf 
        of candidates in general elections

    This section repeals the limit on expenditures coordinated 
between party committees and their candidates contained in 
section 315(d) of FECA.

Section 605. Construction

    This provision specifically provides that nothing in the 
language of this title should be construed as approving, 
ratifying, or endorsing a FEC regulation, establishing, 
modifying, or otherwise affecting the IRS's definition of a 
political organization, or affecting whether a 501(c) 
organization should be considered a political committee.

Section 606. Judicial review

    This section establishes certain special rules for actions 
brought on constitutional grounds. Those actions (1) must be 
filed in United States District Court for the District of 
Columbia and be heard by a 3-judge panel; (2) a copy of the 
complaint must be delivered to the Clerk of the House and the 
Secretary of the Senate; and (3) a final decision in the 
actions is only reviewable by direct appeal to the Supreme 
Court. This section also provides that Members of Congress have 
the right to intervene either in support or opposition to the 
position of a party to the case regarding the constitutionality 
of the provision or amendment and any Member may bring an 
action for declaratory or injunctive relief to challenge the 
constitutionally of any provision of the title.

Section 607. Severability

    This section provides that, should any part of this title, 
or amendment made by this title, be held to be 
unconstitutional, the remainder of the title and amendments 
made by the title will remain unaffected.

              TITLE VII--FORFEITURE OF RETIREMENT BENEFITS

Section 701. Loss of pensions accrued during service as a Member of 
        Congress for abusing the public trust

    This section amends section 8332 of title 5, United States 
Code, to provide that a Member of Congress, if convicted of 
bribery or acting as an agent of a foreign government 
(including the associated conspiracy charges), will lose those 
contributions made by the government to their Congressional 
pension. The provision also authorizes the Office of Personnel 
Management to promulgate regulations to carry out the section, 
including regulations providing for the payment of the full 
amount of the pension to the spouse or children of the Member 
to the extent deemed necessary given the totality of the 
circumstances.

    Changes in the Rules of the House Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with clause 3(g) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in the Rules of the House 
made by the provisions of the bill referred to the Committee, 
as reported, are shown as follows (existing provisions proposed 
to be omitted are enclosed in black brackets, new matter is 
printed in italics, existing provisions in which no change is 
proposed are shown in roman):

RULES OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



                                RULE II


Other Officers and Officials

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


    Chief Administrative Officer
  4. (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (d) The Chief Administrative Officer may not pay any 
compensation to any employee of the House with respect to any 
pay period during which the employee, as determined by the 
Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, is not in 
compliance with the applicable requirements of regulations 
promulgated pursuant to clause 3(r) of Rule XI.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                                RULE XI

Procedures of Committees and Unfinished Business

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


    Committee on Standards of Official Conduct
  3. (a) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (r) The committee shall establish a program of regular ethics 
training for employees of the House and promulgate regulations 
providing for the following:
          (1)(A) Except as otherwise provided, all employees of 
        the House are required to complete ethics training 
        offered by the committee at least once during each 
        congress. Any employee who is hired after the date of 
        adoption of such rules is required to complete such 
        training within 30 days of being hired.
          (B) Any employee of the House who works in a Member's 
        district office shall not be required to complete such 
        ethics training until 30 days after the district office 
        has received a notice from the Committee on Standards 
        of Official Conduct that the required ethics training 
        program is available on the Internet.
          (2) After any employee of the House completes such 
        ethics training, that employee shall file a written 
        certification with the committee that he is familiar 
        with the contents of any pertinent publications that 
        are so designated by the committee and has completed 
        the required ethics training.
          (3) As used in this paragraph, the term ``employee of 
        the House'' refers to any individual whose compensation 
        is disbursed by the Chief Administrative Officer, 
        including any staff assigned to a Member's personal 
        office, any staff of a committee or leadership office, 
        or any employee of the Office of the Clerk, of the 
        Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, or of the 
        Sergeant-at-Arms, but does not include a Member, 
        Delegate, or Resident Commissioner.
  (s) The committee shall establish a program of regular ethics 
training for Members, Delegates, and the Resident Commissioner 
similar to the program established in paragraph (r), and 
encourage participation in such program.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                               RULE XXIII

                        Code of Official Conduct

  There is hereby established by and for the House the 
following code of conduct, to be known as the ``Code of 
Official Conduct'':
          1. * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  14. (a) A Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner shall 
file with the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct a 
statement that he or she is negotiating compensation for 
prospective employment or has any arrangement concerning 
prospective employment if a conflict of interest or the 
appearance of a conflict of interest may exist. Such statement 
shall be made within 5 days (other than Saturdays, Sundays, or 
public holidays) after commencing the negotiation for 
compensation or entering into the arrangement.
  (b) A Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner should 
refrain from voting on any legislative measure pending before 
the House or any committee thereof if the negotiation described 
in subparagraph (a) may create a conflict of interest.
  15. A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or 
employee of the House may not, with the intent to influence on 
the basis of political party affiliation an employment decision 
or employment practice of any private or public entity (except 
for the Congress)--
          (a) take or withhold, or offer or threaten to take or 
        withhold, an official act; or
          (b) influence, or offer or threaten to influence, the 
        official act of another.
          [14.] 16. (a) In this Code of Official Conduct, the 
        term ``officer or employee of the House'' means an 
        individual whose compensation is disbursed by the Chief 
        Administrative Officer.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                                RULE XXV

Limitations on Outside Earned Income and Acceptance of Gifts

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


    Gifts
          5. (a)(1)(A)  * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (2)(A)(i) In this clause the term ``gift'' means a 
        gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, 
        loan, forbearance, or other item having monetary value. 
        The term includes gifts of services, training, 
        transportation, lodging, and meals, whether provided in 
        kind, by purchase of a ticket, payment in advance, or 
        reimbursement after the expense has been incurred.
  (ii) A gift of a ticket to a sporting or entertainment event 
shall be valued at the face value of the ticket, provided that 
in the case of a ticket without a face value, the ticket shall 
be valued at the highest cost of a ticket with a face value for 
the event.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

                              ----------                              


                             MINORITY VIEWS

    The markup of H.R. 4975 this Committee held on April 5, 
2006 was one of a number of hearings and markups the House of 
Representatives held in the early months of 2006 on the subject 
of Congressional corruption, which the Majority has very 
carefully named ``Lobbying Reform.'' The three hearings 
Chairman Dreier conducted in the Rules Committee on this topic 
allowed us to consider a number of different viewpoints and 
develop a solid committee record. We appreciate Chairman 
Dreier's willingness to conduct these hearings and sincerely 
hope he will continue this spirit of deliberation when the 
Rules Committee takes up the rule for H.R. 4975. We urge the 
Committee to report a rule that will allow the House to conduct 
an open and unrestricted debate on this crucial issue. The 
first step we can take to restore the American people's 
confidence in their legislative branch is to show them we are 
carefully considering every reform idea. All of the serious 
reform proposals both Democrats and Republicans have put 
forward over the past few months deserve full consideration on 
the House floor.
    We oppose this bill in its current form because it pretends 
that the degradation of the legislative process and ethical 
standards in the House of Representatives we have all witnessed 
over the past few Congresses can be solved with a few narrowly-
targeted fixes. By proposing this legislation, Republicans are 
telling a seriously ill patient to take two aspirin and call 
them in the morning. As the outside experts testified at our 
hearings, and as a multitude of editorial writers, bloggers, 
and other commentators have observed, the current Congress is 
suffering from a systemic illness that affects every aspect of 
its operations. We do not believe that a piecemeal response to 
the scandals that have tarnished the reputation of the House 
over the past few years is a credible one. A more serious, more 
comprehensive proposal to reform Congress would address the 
procedural abuses that have flourished in the past few years 
and allowed special interests to capture the legislative 
process. It would also restore accountability and enforcement 
to the moribund House ethics process. Most importantly, it 
would demand that Members and staff renew their commitment to 
serving the people who sent them to Congress and restoring 
Americans' faith in the ``People's House.''
    Finally, we must note with disappointment that while 
Chairman Dreier and the Republican leadership talked constantly 
about crafting a ``bipartisan'' reform proposal, H.R. 4975 is a 
Republican bill. It does not include any of the major policy 
ideas put forward by Rules Committee Democrats (H. Res. 686), 
Minority Leader Pelosi (H.R. 4682), or senior Democratic 
Representatives Obey, Frank, Price, and Allen (H. Res. 659). 
Furthermore, as the record of our markup demonstrates, 
bipartisanship ended with the opening statements. During the 
hearing, Democratic Rules Committee Members offered 12 separate 
amendments we believed would strengthen the bill and create a 
more credible reform package. As the record shows, our twelve 
proposals did not garner even one vote from our Republican 
colleagues on the Rules Committee. As we have pointed out 
before, merely calling a process ``bipartisan'' does not make 
it so.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\ See our Minority Views in House Report 109-220, Part 1, 
Establishing the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the 
Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. ``Lobbying Reform''--Broad Problem, Narrow Solution
    We think the name the Majority has given to this effort and 
to this legislation (the ``Lobbying Accountability and 
Transparency Act of 2006'') is very revealing. First of all, by 
calling their effort ``lobbying reform,'' Republicans are 
suggesting that responsibility for the corruption scandals that 
have plagued the House in the 109th Congress lies not with 
elected Members of Congress, but with the people who lobby 
them. Their argument seems to be that if you tweak a few rules 
governing the lobbying profession, the ethics controversies 
that have clouded the 109th Congress will go away. If now-
convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff had simply been required to 
disclose his activities four times a year and disclose more 
information about his political activities, supporters of this 
bill seem to be saying, he would not have been able to operate 
his criminal conspiracy in and around Congress.
    But rapacious lobbyists are only part of the problem. As 
Ranking Member Slaughter observed at one our hearings: 
``Lobbyists, after all, can only knock on the door. Members are 
the ones who have to open it.'' Or as the editorial page of the 
Spokesman Review in Spokane, Washington recently put it: 
``Congress continues to spin this as a lobbying issue, but it 
takes two to do the influence tango.'' \2\ In other words, Jack 
Abramoff was able to demand and receive unconscionable fees 
from his clients because they believed he had access to the 
decision-makers in Congress. The USA Today editorial board made 
this same point in an editorial written earlier this year:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\ Spokesman Review (Spokane, WA) editorial, ``Kick the Habit,'' 
April 3, 2006.

          What is most shocking in the Abramoff case is not 
        that he would want to make a fortune and spread it 
        around to gain power and influence. It is that so many 
        members of Congress would be so quick to accommodate 
        him.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\ USA Today editorial, ``Lobbyist's Plea Likely to Expose Seamy 
Underside of Congress,'' Jan. 4, 2006.

    While we wholeheartedly support lobbying reform, we feel 
the authors of H.R. 4975 have confused cause with effect--the 
key to restoring the people's trust in their Congress is 
restoring ``accountability and transparency'' to the way we do 
our own business. According to an April 10th Washington Post-
ABC News poll, only 38% of Americans approve of the way the 
Congress is doing its job--our lowest approval rating in 10 
years. They have figuredout that Congress spends most of its 
time these days working to help special interests, rather than the 
public interest. Increasing disclosure requirements for lobbyists and 
preventing them from flying with Members of Congress on corporate jets 
are perhaps positive steps, but they will do little to change our 
constituents' current attitude towards the legislative branch. 
Congressional reform, not lobbying reform, is the key to restoring the 
Americans' confidence in the people's House. As our colleague, 
Representative David Price, observed in his Rules Committee testimony, 
``a debate focused only on lobbyist disclosure and travel and gift 
rules risks missing the forest for the trees.'' \4\ Another Committee 
witness, Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution, made this point to 
us during our March 2nd hearing. He testified:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\ Lobbying Reform: Accountability Through Transparency, Original 
Jurisdiction Hearing before the House Committee on Rules [hereinafter 
March 30th Lobbying Reform Hearing], 109th Congress (March 30, 2006) 
(statement of the Honorable David Price); available at: http://
www.rules.house.gov/techouse/109/lobref/Accountability/
109_lob_ref_oj_3_trans.htm.

          All professional groups, including lobbyists, can 
        benefit from higher ethical standards and self-
        regulation. But I think it is a mistake to assume the 
        broader problem is one of their own making. The 
        Congress would be well advised to focus on its own 
        Members and staff, for its leaders to articulate and 
        champion high ethical standards in dealing with 
        lobbyists and to set up educational programs whereby 
        those inside Congress are assisted in meeting those 
        standards, and to establish effective systems of 
        transparency and enforcement.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\ Lobbying Reform: Accountability Through Transparency, Original 
Jurisdiction Hearing before the House Committee on Rules [hereinafter 
March 2nd Lobbying Reform Hearing], 109th Congress (March 2, 2006) 
(statement of Dr. Thomas Mann, Ph.D.); available at: http://
www.rules.house.gov/techouse/109/lobref/109_test_lob_ref_oj.htm

    Dubbing this legislation ``lobbying reform'' also suggests 
the current rules governing Members and staff members are not 
adequate to regulate their behavior. While we have proposed a 
number of reforms that we feel will improve the accountability 
of the Congress to our constituents, we also must point out 
that there are already a number of statutes and rules setting 
standards for Members' behavior and regulating our 
relationships with registered lobbyists. Moreover, as attorney 
Robert Bauer reminded us at our March 9th hearing, our ethics 
rules require us to not only follow their ``black-letter'' 
requirements; they also command us to ``observe their spirit as 
well as their letter.'' The Code of Official Conduct requires 
Members and staff not only to follow the rules, but also to 
avoid actions (even lawful ones) that would discredit the 
House.\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\ Lobbying Reform: Reforming the Gift and Travel Rules, Original 
Jurisdiction Hearing before the House Committee on Rules [hereinafter 
Gift and Travel Reform Hearing], 109th Congress (March 9, 2006) 
(statement of Robert Bauer); available at: http://www.rules.house.gov/
techouse/109/lobref/travel/109_test_lob_reftravel_oj.htm.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    It is painfully obvious to all of us that the current 
ethics scandals occurred because some Members and staff lost 
sight of their obligation to observe the spirit of our rules. 
Because Article I of the Constitution gives Congress the 
exclusive authority to govern the conduct of and discipline its 
Members, the House is a self-governing body. It is ultimately 
our responsibility to create, and then honor, rules of conduct 
that inspire confidence in the American people that their 
elected representatives are acting in our country's best 
interest. Perhaps the most effective ``lobbying reform'' would 
be a new commitment by Members and staff of the House to 
conduct themselves ``at all times in a manner that shall 
reflect creditably on the House,'' as we are required to do 
under clause 1 of Rule XXIII.
    A number of witnesses before the Rules Committee made this 
same point--plenty of good rules already exist, but they are 
useless if the House does not enforce them. Professor James 
Thurber urged us to ``strengthen the enforcement of existing 
laws and ethics rules that cover Members of Congress, staff, 
and lobbyists.'' He described the committees that oversee the 
current rules as ``moribund'' and proposed the following:

          At a minimum the Congressional committees with 
        jurisdiction over lobbying and ethics must hold regular 
        oversight hearings, investigate allegations of existing 
        ethics and lobbying law violations, and hold regular 
        training sessions for Members of Congress and staff 
        about existing rules and standards of conduct.\7\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\ March 2nd Lobbying Reform Hearing (statement of Dr. James 
Thurber, Ph.D.).

Former Representative James Bachus reminded us that ``Rules 
without the resources to make them real are but empty 
promises.'' \8\ On the issue of gift ban limits, Professor 
Thurber testified that the House does not need to change the 
limits, rather ``it needs to effectively oversee and enforce 
the existing gift ban rules.'' \9\ Our Republican colleague, 
Representative Heather Wilson, made exactly the same point a 
few weeks later when she testified: ``The problem with the gift 
ban isn't the limit, it is the failure to enforce the gift rule 
effectively.'' \10\ On Member travel rules, Professor Thurber 
offered the following thought:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\ March 2nd Lobbying Reform Hearing (statement of the Honorable 
James Bachus).
    \9\ March 2nd Lobbying Reform Hearing (statement of Dr. James 
Thurber, Ph.D.).
    \10\ March 30th Lobbying Reform Hearing (statement of the Honorable 
Heather Wilson).

          Congress does not need to prohibit the support of 
        legitimate educational travel by Members and staff; it 
        needs to enforce existing rules and ban non-educational 
        travel for Members of Congress and staff. Obviously, 
        the appropriate travel would not be, for example, an 
        eight-day golf trip to St. Andrews that happened to 
        include a one hour meeting or lecture.\11\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \11\ March 2nd Lobbying Reform Hearing (statement of Dr. James 
Thurber, Ph.D.).

    During our markup, Representative Hastings of Florida 
offered an amendment (amendment # 11) that would have 
reinforced the current House rules that allow Members to take 
educational trips sponsored by private entities that are truly 
education in nature. His proposal to require the Ethics 
Committee to pre-approve groups for privately-funded travel and 
to require Members and staff to more fully disclose their 
travel itineraries was intended to clarify the common-sense 
difference between education travel and travel that involves 
playing golf with lobbyists. The Hastings amendment was 
consistent with the almost unanimous view we heard from Members 
and outside experts that legitimate educational travel helps 
Members deepen their knowledge of important issues and forge 
relationships with their House colleagues. Unfortunately, Rules 
Committee Republicans rejected this proposal on party-line 3-9 
vote, and instead supported a temporary travel moratorium 
(section 301) that kicks the issue of privately-funded travel 
down the road until after the November elections by banning all 
travel (educational or not) until December 15, 2006.
    We must also point out that H.R. 4975 does not fix all of 
the problems it claims to fix, nor close all of the loopholes 
it claims to close. For example, while section 303 of the bill 
prohibits lobbyists from flying with Members of Congress on 
corporate jets, it still allows Members of Congress to fly on 
these private jets at the cost of a first-class ticket on a 
commercial airline. While Section 304 of the bill requires 
gifts of tickets to sporting events, concerts, or theater 
performances to be valued at their ``face value,'' it does not 
requires the tickets to be valued at the price a member of the 
public would pay for the same ticket. During the markup, 
Representative McGovern offered two amendments that would have 
fixed these problems and applied the laws of economic supply-
and-demand to Members of Congress. One of his amendments 
(amendment # 9), which was defeated on a party-line vote of 4-
9, would have valued a ticket for entertainment according to 
what it would cost a member of the general public. His other 
amendment (amendment # 8), again defeated by a party-line vote 
of 4-9, would have required Members of Congress to pay the same 
amount to fly on a private jet as it would cost a member of the 
general public to fly on a corporate-owned or chartered jet. 
This amendment also would have required Member to disclose who 
owns the jet and the names of the people who accompanied him or 
her on the flight.
    The section of the bill addressing earmarks (section 501) 
also appears to be less than airtight. While H.R. 4975 claims 
to address the proliferation of earmarks in the legislative 
process, the bill as it is currently written will not touch 
many bills that contain provisions specifically targeted to 
benefit individual persons or small groups. While the current 
version of the bill requires appropriations bills to list 
earmarks and the names of their sponsors inthe text of the bill 
or accompanying report, it does not address the increasingly common 
earmarking that occurs in authorizing committees. As Ranking Member 
Obey pointed out in his March 30th testimony, the 2005 transportation 
authorization bill contained more than 5,000 earmarks totaling more 
than $24 billion, while last year's FSC-ETI tax bill contained billions 
of dollars of narrowly targeted tax benefits to aid special interests 
such as horse race tracks and fishing tackle box manufacturers. To 
correct this oversight, Representative Hastings of Florida offered an 
amendment (amendment # 10) requiring Members to disclose their earmark 
requests for any type of bill, not just appropriations legislation. 
Unfortunately, Rules Committee Republicans rejected this amendment to 
broaden the earmark disclosure process.
    Finally, in the past few days, we have learned that 
Republican leaders have blocked bipartisan improvements the 
Judiciary Committee made to H.R. 4975 during its markup of the 
lobbying disclosure sections of the bill. The Committee Print 
posted on the Rules Committee website on Friday, April 21, 2006 
removed and/or watered down several Democratic and bipartisan 
amendments the Judiciary Committee adopted that required 
lobbyists to disclose more of their fundraising activities. In 
other words, the Republican leadership unilaterally blocked a 
bipartisan idea to improve lobbyist disclosure (the stated goal 
of this legislation). Mr. Fred Wertheimer, President of 
Democracy 21, who participated in our March 2nd hearing, 
commented on this change, ``House Republican leaders have 
turned an already unacceptable lobbying and ethics bill into a 
complete joke.'' \12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \12\ Elana Schor, ``Watchdog Groups Blast House Lobby Reform 
Bill,'' The Hill, April 25, 2006.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

2. A House Without Ethics

          It was amazing after the 2004 election we considered 
        repealing the rule requiring a Republican leader to 
        step down if indicted. Next, we proceeded to remove the 
        members of the Ethics Committee who had voted to hold 
        our former Majority Leader accountable for his actions. 
        And then, we proceeded to make it more difficult to 
        initiate an Ethics Committee investigation. It is clear 
        to me power corrupts and absolute power corrupts 
        absolutely. We need bold action. We need bold reform.--
        Representative Christopher Shays, Testimony before the 
        House Rules Committee, March 30, 2006 \13\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \13\ March 30th Lobbying Reform Hearing, (statement of the 
Honorable Christopher Shays).

    Although H.R. 4975 treads lightly around the subject, it is 
obvious to all observers of Congress (including many who 
testified before our Committee) that one of the major problems 
in the 109th Congress has been the failure of the Committee on 
Standards of Official Conduct (the Ethics Committee) to enforce 
our Code of Official Conduct (codified at Rule XXIII of the 
current House rules). During his testimony before the Rules 
Committee on March 2nd, Mr. Fred Wertheimer, the President of 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Democracy 21, did not mince his words. He said:

          The performance of the House ethics committee, in 
        particular, is its own scandal. During the entire year 
        of 2005, the House ethics committee was not even 
        functional. This failure of the Committee to be able to 
        operate for an entire year is unprecedented and 
        demonstrates a complete breakdown of the process in the 
        House for overseeing and enforcing House ethics 
        rules.\14\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \14\ March 2nd Lobbying Reform Hearing (statement of Mr. Fred 
Wertheimer).

    It was a particularly bad year to operate without an Ethics 
Committee, since 2005 was a year in which a number of new 
congressional ethical scandals came to light. One particularly 
embarrassing episode for the House was former Representative 
Randy ``Duke'' Cunningham's pleading guilty in November 2005 to 
accepting more than $2 million in bribes from defense 
contractors. While enterprising reporters from Cunningham's 
hometown newspaper published story after story on his shady 
financial transactions through the spring and summer of 2005, 
the Ethics Committee took no formal notice of the exploding 
scandal and conducted no investigation.
    The failure of the Ethics Committee to investigate 
Cunningham's actions inspired a rare unity among government 
watchdog groups. Commenters across the ideological spectrum 
agreed that the Cunningham case demonstrated a total failure of 
the current Congress to police Members' behavior. As Tom 
Fitton, president of conservative Judicial Watch put it: 
``There is no ethics enforcement in Congress today, and it's 
inexcusable.'' Melanie Sloan, speaking on behalf of the liberal 
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington commented, 
``No matter what level of corruption the members of Congress 
engage in, the ethics committees do nothing. . . It's a 
national embarrassment.'' Senator John McCain commented on Meet 
the Press: ``I don't think the Ethics Committees are working 
very well. The latest Cunningham scandal was uncovered by the 
San Diego newspaper, not by anyone here. . . .'' \15\ A Roll 
Call editorial bluntly summed it up: ``Let's face it: The 
Justice Department has become the de facto ethics police force 
for Congress.'' \16\ The editorial board of the Nashville 
Tennessean wrote:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \15\ Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, ``In a Season of Scandals, Ethics Panels 
Are on Sidelines,'' Washington Post, Dec. 5, 2005.
    \16\ Roll Call editorial, ``Ethics vs. Justice,'' December 7, 2005

          ``While federal prosecutors spent 2005 building cases 
        against politicians, like Rep. Randy Cunningham, R-
        Calif., the House so-called Ethics Committee met once 
        and did nothing. Surely members of Congress can 
        understand that it is better for them to police their 
        own members for ethics violations than to wait until 
        those violations devolve into crimes, forcing 
        prosecutors to come in to clean house.\17\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \17\ Nashvile Tennessean editorial, ``Abramoff's plea signals need 
for real reforms, It's the whole system, not just one lobbyist, that 
has become corrupt,'' Jan. 5, 2006.

    What sometimes gets lost in discussions about the breakdown 
of ethics enforcement in the 109th Congress is that it was not 
inevitable. The ethics shutdown was engineered by the House 
Republican leadership at the beginning of the 109th Congress in 
order to protect their Members from the scrutiny and 
accountability of the ethics process. Ethics enforcement was 
shut down in 2005 because the Majority launched an 
unprecedented, partisan attack on a process that the House has 
proudly protected from partisanship since it established the 
Ethics Committee in 1967. Key to this process is the structural 
bipartisanship of the Committee. It is made up of five 
Republican and five Democratic Members and is staffed by non-
partisan professionals who are appointed only by majority vote 
of the Committee.
    The attack started on the first day of the 109th Congress, 
when Republican leaders included several controversial ``ethics 
reform'' proposals in their new rules package (H. Res. 5). The 
ethics reforms that were forced through on the Opening Day of 
the 109th Congress on a party-line vote changed a key provision 
in the 1997 ethics rules that prevented Members of only one 
party from blocking ethics investigations. Under the 1997 
rules, a validly filed complaint that the Committee does not 
act on within 45 days automatically goes to a subcommittee for 
investigation. The purpose of this rule (called the ``automatic 
transmittal'' rule) is to encourage committee Members to reach 
a bipartisan decision to either dispose of the complaint if it 
has no merit, or begin an investigation within 45 days. The 
knowledge that an investigation will automatically move forward 
if they do not act within the 45-day period, however, prompts 
quick action on a complaint.
    By removing the 45-day default provision, Republican 
leaders knew that they were fundamentally changing the 
incentive structure created in the 1997 reforms. Eliminating 
the 45-day transmittal rule would allow committee Members from 
one party to ``run out the clock'' on ethics complaints against 
Members from their own party. In other words, five members of 
the Committee (less than a majority of the 10-member committee) 
could force the dismissal of an ethics complaint simply by 
doing nothing. As a Roll Call editorial observed at the time, 
by jamming this rule change through on opening day, the 
Republican leadership ``made it unmistakably clear that the 
House ethics process henceforward will be a partisan 
undertaking, not a bipartisan one.'' \18\ After trying to 
defend this indefensible ethics rule change for several months, 
the Republican leadership of the House finally gave up and 
allowed the House, by an overwhelming 406-20 vote, to restore 
the 45-day rule to its 1997 version (H. Res. 240).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \18\ Roll Call editorial, ``Ethics Retreat,'' Jan. 10, 2005.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Even more outrageous was an ethics rule change that the 
Republican leadership had been forced to abandon by the time 
the House adopted its rules package on the first day of the 
109th Congress. The week before the 109th Congress convened, 
GOP leaders had circulated a proposal to eliminate the most 
fundamental tenet and first rule of the House ethics code, 
namely that ``A Member . . . shall conduct himself at all times 
in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.'' \19\ 
The effect of this change would have been to turn a code of 
conduct based on each Member's duty to behave in a manner 
worthy of the United States House of Representatives into a 
code of enumerated offenses. Members would be allowed to act in 
a way that brought discredit to the House, as long as they did 
not violate one of the ``black-letter'' ethics rules. As a 
Washington Post editorial explained this provision:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \19\ House Rule XXIII, clause 1.

          No matter how slimy a lawmaker's behavior, it 
        couldn't be deemed an ethical violation unless the 
        ethics committee could cite a specific subparagraph of 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
        a specific regulation that was breached.

The editorial went on to point out that by eliminating this 
general principle of honorable conduct, the House was holding 
itself to a lower standard than it requires from members of the 
Armed Forces. Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, 
soldiers can be court martialed for ``all conduct of a nature 
to bring discredit upon the Armed Forces.'' \20\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \20\ Washington Post editorial, ``Rigging the Rules,'' Dec. 31, 
2004.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    It was no mystery why the House leadership was desperately 
struggling to water down the House ethics rules at the 
beginning of the 109th Congress. In the final months of the 
108th Congress, the House Ethics Committee admonished then-
Majority Leader Tom DeLay for (1) improperly promising 
political support in exchange for a vote on the Medicare bill, 
(2) appearing to link campaign contributions to proposed energy 
legislation, and (3) using Federal Aviation Administration 
resources to track down Texas legislators who opposed 
Representative DeLay's Congressional redistricting plan. The 
effect of these admonishments was not to force Representative 
DeLay and the Majority leadership to pause and think about how 
they could modify their behavior to better conform with the 
House's ethical standards; instead, they tried to lower the 
House's ethical standards to make their unacceptable behavior 
acceptable.
    In the months leading up to and following these ethics 
rules changes, the Republican leadership took several further 
steps to punish the people who dared stand up for the House 
Code of Conduct. Late in the 108th Congress, the Republican 
Conference repealed its internal rule prohibiting a Member from 
holding a leadership position if he or she were under 
indictment. This indictment rule, obviously intended to protect 
the job of then-Majority Leader DeLay, was reinstated at the 
beginning of the 109th Congress after a storm of criticism.
    A GOP leadership decision that was not repealed, however, 
was the Speaker's February 2nd ``Wednesday Afternoon Massacre'' 
dismissal of Chairman Joel Hefley, and two other Republican 
Ethics Committee Members. According to Chairman Hefley, there 
was ``a bad perception out there that there was a purge in the 
committee and that people were put in that would protect our 
side of the aisle better than I did.'' \21\ One of the first 
actions of the new Chairman, our Rules Committee colleague 
Representative Hastings of Washington, was to halt the 
Committee's ongoing investigations and dismiss the Committee's 
long-time non-partisan staff director and chief counsel.\22\ In 
spite of the Ethics Committee's rule that its staff be 
professional and nonpartisan,\23\ Chairman Hastings then tried 
to unilaterally hire a long-time political aide as the 
committee's staff director.\24\ Chairman Hastings' insistence 
on hiring a political aide to fill this key non-partisan 
position paralyzed the Committee's activities for months. In 
fact, the Committee did not fill its staff director position 
until November 2005.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \21\ Roll Call editorial, ``Ethics Odor,'' Feb. 9, 2005.
    \22\ John Bresnahan, ``Critics Slam Hastings' Dismissal of Ethics 
Staff,'' Roll Call, Feb. 17, 2005.
    \23\ Rules of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, 109th 
Congress, Rule 6(a).
    \24\ John Bresnahan and Ben Pershing, ``Ethics Panel Finally; Ready 
to Hire Staff,'' Roll Call, July 5, 2005.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    During the Rules Committee markup of H.R. 4975, 
Representative Slaughter offered an amendment (amendment # 6) 
to prevent the disruption caused by the dismissal of the Ethics 
Committee's counsel at the beginning of the 109th Congress. Her 
amendment would have required a majority vote to dismiss a 
member of the Committee's non-partisan staff, which would 
therefore require the votes of Membersfrom both parties. The 
purpose of this amendment was to re-confirm the Ethics Committee's 
commitment to bipartisan decision-making. Unfortunately, Rules 
Committee Republicans rejected this amendment--as they rejected all of 
the amendments Democrats proposed--on a party-line vote of 4-9.

3. A House Without Rules

    We also oppose this bill because it does almost nothing to 
address the procedural abuses that have become so commonplace 
in our legislative process. By dubbing this legislation 
``lobbying reform,'' the Majority ignores the fact that one of 
the biggest problems currently plaguing the House is the 
breakdown of the deliberative process. They have chosen to 
ignore the obvious connection between the ethics scandals that 
have plagued the 109th Congress and the closed, undemocratic 
way in which the House has conducted its business over the past 
few years. A legislative process that does not allow open 
debate and provide opportunity for amendment on legislation, 
and instead allows small groups of House leaders and private 
interests to write the bills, is a process vulnerable to 
corruption and improper influence from lobbyists. Making the 
lobbying process more transparent will do little good if we do 
not act to make the legislative process more credible and 
transparent as well.
    Although our colleagues in the Majority choose to ignore 
the connection between corruption and the lack of procedural 
fairness, it is obvious to outside observers. During our March 
2nd hearing, for example, longtime Congressional scholar Dr. 
Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute testified:

          The problem goes beyond corrupt lobbyists or the 
        relationship between lobbyists and lawmakers. It gets 
        to a legislative process that has lost the 
        transparency, accountability, and deliberation that are 
        at the core of the American system; the failure to 
        abide by basic rules and norms has contributed, I 
        believe, to a loss of sensitivity among many members 
        and leaders about what is and what is not appropriate. 
        Three-hour votes, thousand-page-plus bills sprung on 
        the floor with no notice, conference reports changed in 
        the dead of night, self-executing rules that suppress 
        debate along with an explosion of closed rules, are 
        just a few of the practices that have become common and 
        that are a distortion of the regular order.\25\

    \25\ March 2nd Lobbying Reform Hearing (statement of Dr. Norman 
Ornstein, Ph.D.).

    Over the past few years, Rules Committee Democrats have 
carefully compiled a record of the procedural abuses that have 
unfortunately come to define the last several Congresses. In 
other venues, we have detailed how the number of closed and 
severely restricted rules has increased over time, thereby 
restricting the ability of both Democratic and Republican 
Members to debate, amend, and improve legislation. We have also 
documented how the Majority routinely jams large, complex 
conference reports through the House with just a few hours 
notice. At the same time it has severely limited deliberation 
on controversial issues, the House occupies more of its already 
short work week debating non-controversial suspension 
bills.\26\ In spite of the promises they made to restore 
``deliberative democracy'' when they took over the House in 
1994, Republicans have taken unprecedented steps to quash 
debate and stifle ``the full and free airing of conflicting 
opinions through hearings, debates, and amendments.'' \27\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \26\ See, for example, Profoundly Un-Democratic: A Congressional 
Report on the Unprecedented Erosion of the Democratic Process in the 
House of Representatives and the Rise of the `Imperial Congress' During 
the 108th Congress, (March 2005), available at: http://
www.housedemocrats.gov/Docs/BrokenPromises.pdf
    \27\ Rules Committee Republicans, The Decline of Deliberative 
Democracy in the People's House, Congressional Record, Apr. 21, 1993, 
p. H 1956.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    During the markup of H.R. 4975, Democratic Rules Committee 
Members offered a number of proposals addressing the procedural 
abuses that have taken root in the House over the past few 
Congresses. Most of these proposals came from a rules reform 
package we introduced on February 16, 2006 (H. Res. 686) in 
response to Chairman Dreier's promise to consider reform 
proposals in a bipartisan manner. Unfortunately, our reform 
proposalsdid not make it into H.R. 4975. Furthermore, when we 
presented our ideas in the Rules Committee markup of H.R. 4975, Rules 
Committee Republicans voted all of them down on straight party-line 
votes. As we mentioned earlier in these views, a bipartisan process 
requires more than the constant repetition of the word ``bipartisan.'' 
Bipartisanship requires the majority party to seriously consider the 
minority's ideas, to conduct a good-faith discussion of these ideas, 
and perhaps even adopt a few of them.
    One of the procedural abuses we have repeatedly highlighted 
over the past few years is the Republican leadership's use of 
the conference committee to jam unfamiliar (sometimes even un-
read) material through the legislative process. House-Senate 
conferences are a critical part of the deliberative process 
because they produce the final legislative product that will 
become the law of the land. Although Members can follow and 
influence legislation as it moves through the committees and 
then to the House floor, the conference is where the final 
compromises are made and the final statutory language on the 
bill's toughest issues is negotiated and drafted.
    Since only a restricted group of House Members participates 
in conferences and because conference reports can contain 
significant policy changes from the House-approved version of a 
bill, the standing House Rules provide Members a number of 
protections against abuses during the conference process. Under 
these rules, House conferees are not permitted to adopt 
modifications outside the scope of the House-passed bill.\28\ 
They must also comply with numerous provisions of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974. In addition, the standing 
House rules are designed to prevent the House from rushing a 
conference report to the floor for an up-or-down vote without 
giving Members the adequate time to understand the contents of 
the final product. Rule XXII requires the conference committee 
to hold at least one public meeting \29\ and requires the 
conferees to attach a joint explanatory statement to the report 
that is ``sufficiently detailed and explicit to inform the 
House of the effects of the report on the matters committed to 
conference.'' \30\ Perhaps most importantly, House rules 
require conference reports and explanatory statements to be 
available to Members for three days after publication in the 
Congressional Record.\31\ This three-day layover requirement is 
specifically intended to give Members time to read the 
conference report and weigh its merits before a final vote.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \28\ Rule XXII, cl. 9.
    \29\ Rule XXII, cl. 12(a)(1).
    \30\ Rule XXII, cl. 7(e).
    \31\ Rule XXII, cl. 8(a)(1)(A).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Over the past few years, we have repeatedly objected to the 
Rules Committee's practice of granting ``blanket waivers'' to 
conference reports headed to the House floor. The effect of 
these waivers is to negate all of the protections the House 
rules give Members against abusive conferences. These blanket 
waivers strip the right of Members who did not participate in 
the conference to insist on regular order so they can have time 
to learn what is in the final conference report before they 
vote on it. As the statistics we have collected on the 
conference process so far in the 109th Congress show, Rules 
Committee Republicans have protected all 18 conference reports 
the House has considered with blanket waivers. Furthermore, 
they waived three-day layover on all but two of these 
conference reports (see appendix 2). The result is that House 
members are regularly forced to vote on major legislation 
totaling hundreds or even thousands of pages, sometimes only 
hours after the conference report has been presented in the 
House. Thanks to the blanket waiver, these conference reports 
may contain non-germane provisions and/or earmarks that have 
never been considered in the House or Senate. The results of 
this broken conference process are anumber of embarrassing 
episodes that have made Congress an object of ridicule. Among the most 
notorious episodes were:
     The embarrassing provision Republican leaders 
slipped into the Homeland Security conference report at the end 
of the 107th Congress that protected Eli Lilly and a number of 
other pharmaceutical companies from civil liability for their 
production of the vaccine preservative Thimerosal.
     The notorious ``greenbonds initiative'' that 
appeared in the Energy Bill conference report in the 108th 
Congress, which turned out to be a subsidy to build a Hooters 
restaurant in Shreveport, Louisiana.
     The egregious provision in the Fiscal Year 05 
Omnibus appropriations conference report that gave 
Congressional staffers access to the confidential tax returns 
of U.S. citizens.
     The provision in the Fiscal Year 2006 Agriculture 
Appropriations conference report that changed the regulations 
governing the organic food standards hundreds of thousands of 
American families rely on when buying their groceries.
    The most notorious recent episode of conference report 
abuse occurred late last year during consideration of the FY 06 
Defense Appropriations bill (H.R. 2863), the bill that funds 
our troops and military activities in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
During the conference negotiations, conferees agreed in 
principle to include funding that would allow the Department of 
Health and Human Services (HHS) to begin preparing a response 
strategy to the emerging threat of the avian influenza virus. 
During discussions on this provision in the conference, some 
conferees supported the addition of language that would exempt 
drug manufacturers involved in creating avian flu 
countermeasures from liability, should their drugs injure 
people who took them. The conference did not accept this 
language because some conferees thought the exemption was too 
broad. According to the senior Democratic conferee, 
Appropriations Ranking Member David Obey, when the conference 
committee ended its session in the early evening on Sunday, 
December 18, 2005, there was an agreement ``in writing and 
verbally as well, that there would be no legislative liability 
protection language inserted in this bill.'' \32\ The 533-page 
conference report was signed at 6 p.m. that evening and filed 
in the House at 11:54 p.m. the same night.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \32\ Congressional Record, Dec. 22, 2005, p. H13181.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    At some point between the time the conference report was 
signed and the time it was filed, however, Republicans broke 
their word and the rules by slipping in 40 new pages of 
legislative text that not only exempted the producers of 
vaccines related to avian flu, but also gave the HHS Secretary 
discretion to exempt other pharmaceutical products from 
liability when they injure consumers. The 40-page proposal 
gives the Bush Administration broad new powers to exempt drug 
manufacturers from liability for a wide array of drugs that 
have nothing to do with an avian flu epidemic. It exempts these 
companies even if they acted with gross negligence. While the 
legislation promises an alternative compensation program, it 
provided no funding for such a program, which means that 
nurses, first responders and all other American citizens would 
be out of luck if they were harmed by an exempted drug.
    According to Ranking Member Obey, here's how this massive 
Christmas gift to the drug industry got into the bill:

          But after the conference was finished at 6 p.m., 
        Senator Frist marched over to the House side of the 
        Capitol about 4 hours later and insisted that over 40 
        pages of legislation, which I have in my hand, 40 pages 
        of legislation that had never been seenby conferees, be 
attached to the bill. The Speaker joined him in that assistance so 
that, without a vote of the conferees, that legislation was 
unilaterally and arrogantly inserted into the bill after the conference 
was over in a blatantly abusive power play by two of the most powerful 
men in Congress.\33\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \33\ Id.

Republican appropriators tell the same story. A top aide to 
Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran said of the 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
provision:

          It was added after the conference had concluded. It 
        was added at the specific direction of the speaker of 
        the House and the majority leader of the Senate. The 
        conferees did not vote on it. It's a true travesty of 
        the process.\34\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \34\ Bill Theobald, ``Hastert, Frist Said to Rig Bill for Drug 
Firms; Frist Denies Protection Was Added in Secret,'' Gannett News 
Service, Feb. 9, 2006.

In other words, in the dark of night, the two top Congressional 
Republican leaders snuck an extremely controversial piece of 
legislation that had never been considered in the House or the 
Senate into an already signed conference report. Republican 
leaders decided to override the collective decision-making 
process of the Congress to slip in a gift to one of their most 
important political allies.
    For this underhanded maneuver to succeed in the House, 
Republican leaders needed to protect this provision from the 
House rules it so blatantly violated. When the Rules Committee 
met later that night, Representative Hastings of Florida tried 
to strike the vaccine language from the conference report, but 
was defeated on a straight party-line vote of 4 to 9.\35\ The 
rule protecting this provision (H. Res. 639) was reported from 
the Rules Committee about 1:00 a.m. and taken directly to the 
Floor for consideration pursuant to another rule that waived 
the 1-day layover requirement for consideration of the rule (H. 
Res. 632). The House passed this conference report shortly 
after 5:00 a.m. on the morning of December 19, 2005, less than 
seven hours after the 40-page drug company giveaway had first 
appeared.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \35\ Rules Committee rollcall vote # 144, H. Rept. 109-361.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    During the markup of H.R. 4975, we proposed a number of 
amendments to the House rules that would have protected House 
Members from such conference report abuses and restored some 
badly-needed deliberation to the conference process. 
Representative Matsui proposed adding a requirement (amendment 
# 12) that a conference committee conduct an open meeting and a 
roll-call vote to approve the final version of a conference 
report, while Representative McGovern (amendment # 7) proposed 
giving Members a point of order against the consideration of 
conference reports that have not been available to Members for 
three days. Unfortunately, both of these amendments seeking to 
restore Members' rights to know the contents of conference 
reports failed on party-line votes. Ranking Member Slaughter 
offered an amendment (amendment # 2) that would have required 
any rule granting consideration of a conference report to list 
the items in the report that did not appear in the House or 
Senate versions of the bill. This ``out-of-scope'' disclosure 
requirement, which failed on a party line vote of 4-9, would 
have allowed Members to know which items (including earmarks) 
the conference had added to the bill at the last moment, and 
given them the opportunity to strike them.\36\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \36\ During the markup, Chairman Dreier incorrectly asserted that 
such a provision is already part of the House rules. As Chairman Dreier 
conceded, it has become the practice of the current Rules Committee to 
waive points of order against out-of-scope items when it grants rules 
for conference reports, but it is impossible for Members to learn which 
parts of the bill are actually in violation of the scope rule. 
Amendment # 5 would rectify this problem by requiring the rule itself 
to list the out-of-scope items.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Finally, in order to protect the House against the serious 
corruption of the conference process that occurred on the 
Defense Appropriations conference report last December, Ranking 
Member Slaughter proposed creating a point of order (amendment 
# 5) the Majority or Minority Leaders could raise if they 
believed the integrity of the conference report was in 
question. This amendment also failed on a party-line vote. 
During debate on this amendment, Chairman Dreier opposed it on 
the grounds that it set a vague andconfusing standard, while 
Representative Bishop objected that the amendment did not provide a 
precise definition of ``serious violation'' of the conference rules. We 
would respond that if our colleagues do not think it was a serious 
violation of the conference rules to add 40 pages of controversial, 
new, out-of-scope legislative language to a report after the conferees 
had signed it, and only a few hours before it came before the House for 
a final vote, then we understand their ``no'' vote. For our part, we 
feel that House leaders should be able to bring such gross abuses to 
the attention of the House and give the House an opportunity to block a 
conference report written under these circumstances.
    During the markup, Rules Committee Democrats proposed other 
rules changes that we felt addressed some of the procedural 
abuses that have recently undermined earlier stages of the 
legislative process. Representative Matsui offered an amendment 
(amendment # 13) that would have prevented the Rules 
Committee's too common practice of gaming the one-day layover 
requirement of clause 6 of rule XIII by reporting a rule early 
in the morning, adjourning the House, coming back in shortly 
thereafter in a new legislative day, then debating and passing 
the rule. Representative Matsui's amendment would have required 
a 24-hour layover period, rather than a manipulated legislative 
day. Such a rule would guarantee Members at least 24 hours to 
read and understand a rule, in particular a rule that modifies 
the text of reported legislation or a rule that provides for 
consideration of a complex manager's amendment that has been 
submitted to the Committee at the last moment.
    On the very controversial issue of votes held open for 
longer than 15 minutes, Ranking Member Slaughter offered an 
amendment (amendment # 4) that would require greater disclosure 
of what is happening on the House floor during votes the 
Majority holds open for long periods. On a number of occasions 
in recent years, House Republicans have made national news by 
holding votes open for long periods while they begged, cajoled, 
or threatened enough Members to switch their votes to pass a 
bill. The most infamous long vote in recent memory was of 
course the three-hour late-night vote on the Medicare 
conference report during which Republican leaders and at least 
one Bush Administration official roamed the House floor 
offering political favors to Republican Members who would 
support the legislation. A Republican Member present at the 
scene commented, ``It was an outrage. It was profoundly ugly 
and beneath the dignity of Congress.'' \37\ As the table below 
shows, in the 108th and 109th Congresses, Republicans have held 
votes open for periods significantly longer than 15 minutes on 
at least eight separate occasions.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \37\ Mark Wegner, ``Night Of House Drama Yields A Narrow Medicare 
Victory,'' Congress Daily AM, Nov. 24, 2003.

 HOUSE VOTES HELD OPEN BEYOND THE CUSTOMARY 17 MINUTES IN THE 108TH AND
                            109TH CONGRESSES
------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Date                Bill/Vote Description   Length of Vote
------------------------------------------------------------------------
November 17, 2005.............  Final Passage of Labor- 36 minutes
                                 HHS Appropriations
                                 Conference Report.
                                 Rejected 224-209.
October 7, 2005...............  H.R. 3893-Gas Act--     46 minutes (for
                                 vote began at 1:57 pm   a 5-minute
                                 (a five minute vote)    vote)
                                 and was gaveled down
                                 at 2:43 pm) vote #519.
July 27 & 28, 2005              H.R. 3045-CAFTA the     63 minutes
 (legislative day of July 27,    vote started at 11:00
 2005).                          pm on the 27th and
                                 went on until 12:03
                                 am) Vote #443.
July 8, 2004..................  Sanders amendment on    38 minutes
                                 PATRIOT Act to FY
                                 2005 Commerce-Justice
                                 State Appropriations
                                 bill.
March 30, 2004................  Motion to instruct      28 minutes (on 5-
                                 conferees on PAYGO on   minute vote)
                                 the FY 2005 Budget
                                 Resolution.
November 22, 2003.............  Final Passage of the    3 hours. (during
                                 Conference Report on    this vote,
                                 H.R. 1, the             former Rep.
                                 Prescription Drug       Nick Smith
                                 bill..                  claimed to have
                                                         been offered a
                                                         bribe by then
                                                         Majority Leader
                                                         Tom DeLay)
June 26, 2003.................  Final Passage of HR 1,  50 minutes.
                                 the Prescription Drug
                                 bill..
March 20, 2003................  Final Passage of        26 minutes
                                 Budget Resolution..
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ranking Member Slaughter's amendment would not prevent the 
Speaker from holding a vote open for longer than 15 minutes (as 
is allowed under clause 2 of rule XX), because there are 
sometimes legitimate reasons to extend votes (for example, 
Members are en route from the airport or stuck in an elevator). 
But if the Speaker is holding a vote open to bully Members or 
to change a vote outcome, the American people should be allowed 
to know what their Members of Congress were doing during the 
vote. The Slaughter amendment would require that a log be 
printed in the Congressional Record showing which Members voted 
after the initial 30-minute period and the time they voted. It 
would also list which Members switched their votes and the time 
they switched. As Chairman Dreier correctly stated during the 
Committee markup, current practices in the House do require a 
listing of any vote changes that occur during a vote. However, 
it requires no record of when these changes occurred and, in 
particular, no indication of when an initial vote was cast or 
when a vote was changed. Letting the public know what voting 
activity occurs after the 30-minute mark is an important step 
in bringing more accountability and transparency to the voting 
process in the House.

Conclusion--An opportunity lost

    If the markup of this legislation in the Rules Committee is 
any indication of the tone and process that will occur when we 
consider this bill again in the Rules Committee and on the 
House floor, then the Republican leadership has squandered a 
real opportunity to reform Congress. The American people have 
very accurately concluded that the current Congress acts not in 
their interests, but at the behest of special interests who 
have purchased access to the legislative process. While 
Republicans have had some success in labeling the scandals of 
the 109th Congress as ``lobbying'' scandals, Americans 
understand that at their core, they are Congressional scandals. 
They understand that lobbyists like Jack Abramoff would not 
have won access to the halls of Congress without the help of 
their friends on the inside.
    As a result, a narrowly-targeted, watered-down set of 
reforms focused on ``lobbyists'' is just not enough to convince 
a skeptical American public that their representatives are 
finally committed to making Congress work again. A partisan 
process that excludes many reform ideas from the debate and 
that Republicans pushed through the process by party-line votes 
is likely to make them even more skeptical of the final 
product. We are disappointed that the Majority's commitment to 
reform seems to be lacking, because restoring ethical standards 
and a truly deliberative lawmaking process to the House would 
be good for both parties, for this institution, and for our 
country.

Appendix 1--RULES ORIGINAL JURISDICTION MARKUP ON H.R. 4975 DEMOCRATIC 
                    AMENDMENTS OFFERED AND REJECTED

Slaughter-Amendment 2 (two part amendment)
    Require an itemized list of any scope violations in the 
rule providing for consideration of a conference report (items 
that were not in either the House or Senate passed versions of 
the bill) and provides for a consideration point of order 
guaranteeing a vote when this rule is violated and provide a 
motion to strike items that are beyond the scope of a 
conference. Rejected 4-9 party-line vote
Matsui-Amendment 12
    Require a roll-call vote, in an open meeting, on the final 
version of a conference report. Rejected 4-7 party-line vote
Matsui-Amendment 13
    Use actual time (24-hours as opposed to one legislative 
day) to determine how soon a rule can be called up on the House 
Floor after it is reported from the Rules Committee. Rejected 
4-8 party-line vote
Slaughter-Amendment 4
    Require, whenever a recorded vote is held open for more 
than 30 minutes, that the Congressional Record include a log of 
the voting activity that occurs after that 30-minute time frame 
to show which Members voted after that time and which Members 
changed their votes during that period. Rejected 4-9 party-line 
vote
McGovern-Amendment 7
    Whenever 3-day layover is waived against a conference 
report, it is in order for a Member to raise a point of order 
guaranteeing a vote to determine whether the House will 
consider the conference report. Rejected 4-9 party-line vote
Slaughter-Amendment 5
    Create a new Majority/Minority leader point of order with a 
guaranteed vote that can be raised against consideration of a 
conference report where the integrity of the conference is in 
question. Rejected 4-9 party-line vote
McGovern-Amendment 8
    Regulates Member travel on private jets by requiring 
Members to pay full charter costs when using corporate jets for 
official travel and to disclose relevant information in the 
Congressional Record, including the owner or lessee of the 
aircraft and the other passengers on the flight. Rejected 4-9 
party-line vote
Hastings (FL)-Amendment 10 (strike section 501 and insert new language)
    Mandates public disclosure of which Members sponsor 
earmarks and disclosure of whether Members have a financial 
interest in the earmark. Earmarks include authorizations, 
appropriations, and tax provisions. Rejected voice vote
Hastings (FL)-Amendment 11
    Establishes pre-approval and disclosure system through the 
Standards Committee for privately-funded travel. Rejected 3-9 
party-line vote
McGovern-Amendment 9
    Clarifies that the ``face value'' of a ticket for the 
purposes of section 304 means the cost of that ticket if a 
member of the general public were purchasing it. Rejected 4-9 
party-line vote
Slaughter-Amendment 6
    To provide that staff on the Committee of Standards of 
Official Conduct can be dismissed only by an affirmative vote 
of the Standards Committee. Rejected 4-9 party-line vote

   APPENDIX 2.--109TH CONGRESS-CONFERENCE REPORTS IN RULES-THROUGH APRIL 6, 2006--PREPARED BY RULES' DEMOCRATS
                                       [E-Rule done as emergency measure]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     Rule/Bill number/Title                           Date & Time passed                      Time between Floor
---------------------------------     Date & Time       on House Floor     Report number and   filing and final
                                   Conference filed    (time taken from   number of pages in   passage & between
                                    on Floor & Date    Clerk's recorded    conference report   Rules' action and
   All conference reports were     and Time reported    votes chart) &    (page numbers from     final passage
 given blanket waivers except as      from Rules      final passage vote   PDF version where      (rounded to
         otherwise noted               Committee         of conference         possible)         nearest \1/2\
                                                            report                                   hour)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1)
H. Res. 248-E...................  Floor--4/28/05-     4/28/05...........  109-62............  6 hours
                                   2:46 pm.
Conference on H.Con.Res. 95--     Rules--4/28/05-     8:30 pm...........  91 pages..........  4 hours
 FY06 Concurrent Budget            4:30 pm.            214-211 (#149)...
 Resolution, plus new point of
 order for Appropriations bills
 that exceed 302(b) allocations.
    H. Res. 242.................  ..................  ..................  ..................  3-day layover
                                                                                               waived
2)
H. Res. 258-E...................  Floor--5/3/05-      5/5/05............  109-72............  1 day 14 hours
                                   11:50 pm.
Conference on H.R. 1268--         Rules--5/4/05-5:00  2:04 pm...........  188 pages.........  21 hours
 Emergency Supplemental Iraq,      pm.                368-58 (#161).....                      3-day layover
 Afghanistan, Tsunami Approps.,                                                                waived
 Real ID & Sec. 2 on Judiciary
 Report on H.R. 748 .
3)
H. Res. 392-E...................  Floor--7/26/05-     7/28/05...........  109-188...........  1 day 18 hours
                                   11:47 pm.
Conference on H.R. 2361--         Rules--7/27/05-     5:47 pm...........  164 pages.........  21 hours
 Interior FY06 Approps.            8:45 pm.           410-10 (#450).....                      3-day layover
                                                                                               waived
4)
H. Res. 394-E...................  Floor--7/27/05-     7/28/05...........  109-190...........  24 hours
                                   1:22 pm.
Conference on H.R. 6--Energy      Rules--7/27/05-     1:10 pm...........  567 pages.........  16\1/2\ hours
 Policy Act.                       8:45 pm.           275-156 (#445)....                      3-day layover
                                                                                               waived
5)
H. Res. 396-E...................  Floor--7/26/05-     7/28/05...........  109-189...........  1 day 18 hours
                                   11:46 pm.
Conference on H.R. 2985--         Rules--7/27/05-     5:55 pm...........  41 pages..........  21 hours
 Legislative Branch FY06 Approps.  8:45 pm.           305-122 (#451)....                      3-day layover
                                                                                               waived
6)
H. Res.__-E.....................  Floor--7/28/05-     See 2nd rule (#7)   See 2nd rule (#7)   See 2nd rule (#7)
                                   6:59 pm.            next vote.          next vote.          next vote
Conference on H.R. 3--TEA-LU      Rules--7/28/05-
 Highway Reauthorization--1st      10:15 pm.
 rule.
    *H. Res. 393-rule not used--  ..................  ..................  ..................  3-day layover
     Rule reported but not filed-                                                              waived
     rule not used.
7)
H. Res. 388-E...................  Floor--7/28/05-     7/29/05...........  109-203...........  16\1/2\ hours
                                   6:59 pm.
Conference on H.R. 3--TEA-LU      Rules--7/29/05      11:38 am..........  1231 pages........  11 hours
 Highway Reauthorization--2nd      (Leg day of 7/28/  412-8 (#453)......
 rule.                             05)-12:30 am.
    Rule done by u/c on House     ..................  ..................  ..................  3-day layover
     Floor.                                                                                    waived
8)
H. Res. 474-E...................  Floor--9/29/05-     10/6/05...........  109-241...........  7 days 3 hours
                                   5:30 pm.
Conference on H.R. 2360--         Rules--9/29/05-     8:43 pm...........  104 pages.........  7 days & 2 hours
 Homeland Security FY06 Approps.   6:30 pm.           347-70 (#512).....
9)
H. Res. 520-E...................  Floor--10/26/05-    10/28/05..........  109-255...........  1 day & 17 hours
                                   6:37 pm.
Conference on H.R. 2744--         Rules--10/27/05-    11:34 am..........  109 pages.........  19 hours
 Agriculture FY06 Approps.         4:30 pm.           318-63 (#555).....                      3-day layover
                                                                                               waived
10)
H. Res. 532-E...................  Floor--11/2/05-     11/4/05...........  109-265...........  1 day 14\1/2\
                                   8:42 pm.                                                    hours
Conference on H.R. 3057--Foreign  Rules--11/3/05-     11:13 am..........  128 pages.........  20 hours
 Operations, Export Financing      3:25 pm.           358-39 (#569).....                      3-day layover
 FY06 Approps.                                                                                 waived
11)
H. Res. 538-E...................  Floor--11/7/05-     11/9/05...........  109-272...........  1 day 20\1/2\
                                   6:32 pm.                                                    hours
Conference on H.R. 2862--         Rules--11/8/05-     3:04 pm...........  212 pages.........  21\1/2\ hours
 Science, State, Justice,          5:45 pm.           397-19 (#581).....                      3-day layover
 Commerce FY06 Approps.                                                                        waived
12)
H. Res. 539-E...................  Floor--11/7/05-     11/9/05...........  109-275...........  1 day 19\1/2\
                                   7:24 pm.                                                    hours
Conference on H.R. 2419--Energy   Rules--11/8/05-     2:55 pm...........  199 pages.........  21 hours
 & Water Development FY06          5:45 pm.           399-17 (#580).....                      3-day layover
 Approps.                                                                                      waived
13).............................    ................  Conference report
                                                       failed.
H. Res. 559-E...................  Floor--11/16/05-    11/17/05..........  109-300...........  17 hours
                                   9:10 pm.
Conference on H.R. 3010--Labor/   Rules--11/17/05     2:13 pm...........  182 pages.........  7 hours
 HHS/Education FY06 Approps.       (leg day of        209-224 (#598)....                      3-day layover
                                   16th)--7:00 am.                                             waived
    1st conference report
     (failed).
14)
H. Res. 564-E...................  Floor--11/18/05     11/18/05..........  109-305...........  11 hours
                                   (leg day of 17th)-
                                   1:50 am.
Conference on H.R. 2528--         Rules--11/18/05     12:47 pm..........  77 pages..........  5 hours
 Military Quality of Life &        (leg day of 17th)- 427-0 (#604)......                      3-day layover
 Veterans Affairs FY06 Approps.    8:00 am.                                                    waived
15).............................
H. Res. 565-E...................  Floor--11/18/05     11/18/05..........  109-307...........  7\1/2\ hours
                                   (leg day of 17th)-
                                   5:30am.
Conference on H.R. 3058--         Rules--11/18/05     1:05 pm...........  308 pages.........  5 hours
 Transportation, Treasury, HUD,    (leg day of 17th)- 392-31 (#605).....                      3-day layover
 DC FY06 Approps.                  8:00 am.                                                    waived
16)
H. Res. 595.....................  Floor--12/8/05-     12/14/05..........  109-333...........  5 days 20 hours
                                   5:51 pm.
Conference on H.R. 3199--USA      Rules--12/13/05-    2:07 pm...........  118 pages.........  20 hours
 Patriot Improvement &             6:00 pm.           251-174 (#627)....
 Reauthorization Act of 2005.
17)
H. Res. 596-E...................  Floor--12/13/05-    12/14/05..........  109-337...........  24\1/2\ hours
                                   3:00 pm.
Conference on H.R. 3010--Labor/   Rules--12/13/05-    3:40 pm...........  182 pages.........  21\1/2\ hours
 HHS/Education FY06 Approps.       6:00 pm.           215-213 (#628)....                      3-day layover
                                                                                               waived
    2nd conference report.......
18)
H. Res. 639-E...................  Floor--12/18/05-    12/19/05 (leg day   109-359...........  5 hours
                                   11:54 pm.           18th).
Conference on H.R. 2863--         Rules--12/19/05     5:04 am...........  533 pages.........  4 hours
 Department of Defense FY06        (leg day of 18th)- 308-106 (#669)....                      3-day layover
 Approps.                          1:00 am.                                                    waived
    *H. Res. 632................
19)
H. Res. 640.....................  Floor--12/19/05     12/19/05 (leg day   109-362...........  5 hours
                                   (leg day of 18th)-  of 18th).
                                   1:13 am.
Conference on S. 1932--Deficit    Rules--12/19/05     6:07 am...........  367 pages.........  4\1/2\ hours
 Reduction Act of 2005.            (leg day of        212-206 (#670)....                      3-day layover
                                   reconciliation                                              waived
                                   18th)-1:30 am.
    *H. Res. 632 ...............
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
**All conference reports were given blanket waivers unless otherwise noted.
*Rule done pursuant to this Rule waiving \2/3\rds-clause 6(a) of Rule XIII 3-day layover waived.

                                   Louise M. Slaughter.
                                   James P. McGovern.
                                   Alcee L. Hastings.
                                   Doris O. Matsui.