Well, President Obama has at least made an attempt to crack down on this sort of influence peddling. He can’t do much about McHenry’s attendance to these sorts of things (Congressmen use a loophole allowing them to reimburse trade associations using campaign funds). But Obama did propose a new rule banning federal employees from attending such lobbyist-hosted conferences for free.
As the The Hill’s Kevin Bogardus reports today, a number of lobbies are fighting the new rules. I took a look at the list of lobbyists submitting comments begging the administration to change its mind. Venable, the law/lobbying firm that employs Glenn Ivey, has a letter fighting Obama’s proposed gift rules.
In the letter, Ivey’s colleagues, Ron Jacobs and Ed Wilson, claim that trade association events — the ones that often feature free getaways to the Bahamas, rounds of golf, and fancy resorts — “facilitate meetings between subject matter experts and federal officials to discuss policy and share perspectives, as well as to educate their members.” The Venable attorneys swipe Obama’s rules as “arbitrary and capricious.”
View a copy below: