I first read Karen's post
and then ReddHedd's
. Two lady lawyers both come to the same conclusion about the Republican plan to "reform" the lobbying rules: you can't take gifts, trips, and other "considerations" from lobbyists, unless
they also include a campaign contribution.
This is the "Legalize Extortion of Lobbyists" bill. They can't invite you to dinner unless they give you a campaign contribution? They can't invite you to their skybox unless they kick in a campaign contribution? They can't give you a golfing trip to Hawaii in the winter, unless there's a campaign contribution on your pillow with the chocolate?
The most important thing to remember about this situation is that Jack Abramoff pled guilty to violating the law. There are already laws and rules against what was going on, but they weren't enforced. What is the point of creating new rules, when the old rules were ignored? The Republican leaders of the House made a point of changing the rules governing the Ethics Committee and changed the leadership of that committee to ensure it wouldn't do anything.
The whole point of the Republican "reforms" is to extort more money from lobbyists.