Sullivan unveils reform plan

January 26, 2006

Contact: Rep. Peter Sullivan

Sullivan Unveils Reform Proposal

State Rep. Peter Sullivan today released a plan to reform America's political process.

Sullivan's proposal calls for a ban on lobbyist gifts to Members of Congress, more stringent disclosure requirements for registered lobbyists, an extension of the "cooling off period" during which former governmental officials are barred from lobbying, and stiff civil and criminal penalties for Members of Congress who earmark funds for entities in which they have a financial interest.

"The current climate in Washington has taken corruption and self-dealing and turned them into an art and a science. It has to stop," said Sullivan.

"We won't change a diseased political culture overnight, but we have to begin the job right now. The proposals I am offering will serve as an important first step in reclaiming our democratic process".

Sullivan's reform plan is available on the web at:

Rep. Peter Sullivan is serving his third term as a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Sullivan is the sponsor of several measures aimed at reforming and strengthening New Hampshire's ethics and lobbyist regulation laws.

The text of Sullivan'sproposal follows:

This election season, you will hear plenty of talk about a broken political system. Only one candidate has done something about it.

Peter Sullivan is the only candidate in the race with a proven record as a reformer. He has sponsored legislation to require tougher disclosure of lobbyist activities, to force candidates to disclose lobbyist campaign funding, to require disclosure of lobbyist attempts to influence executive agencies, and to enact a state-level prohibition on going straight from government service to lobbying.

As our voice in Washington, Peter Sullivan will lead the charge to reclaim our democratic institutions from the grip of special interest influence. Here's where he will start:

Ban gifts and trips from lobbyists. When members of Congress and their advisors accept meals, gifts and trips from special interest lobbyists, it makes it harder for the public good to win out over well-heeled interests. Even $50 can buy a good meal or quite a few after-work drinks. It is time to prohibit our public officials from accepting gifts, meals, entertainment, and junkets from lobbyists. No exceptions, no excuses; it's time to quit cold turkey.

Tough Disclosure of Lobbyist Activity. Lobbyists should be required to submit more detailed and more frequent reports disclosing their attempts to influence lawmakers. These reports should be required on a monthly basis, and should include a full accounting of client fees, campaign contributions, the names and positions of officials and staffers contacted, and the legislation that was the subject of any discussions with members of Congress.

Itemized Disclosure of Lobbyist Campaign Contributions. Under current law, it is easy for candidates and members of Congress to hide campaign contributions fromspecial interest lobbyists. By referring to the lobbyist as a "lawyer" or "consultant", or by accepting less than the $200 reporting threshold, candidates can conceal their lobbyist support. This has to stop. By requiring candidates and political committees to disclose all donations from registered lobbyists in a separate, itemized section of their campaign spending reports, we can shed light on the extent of a special interest lobbyist's attempts to influence an election.

Close the Revolving Door. Public service shouldn't be a way of lining your own pockets. Too often, members of Congress and the Executive Branch cashin on their contacts by lobbying their former colleagues and co-workers on behalf of various special interests. It's time to slow the revolving door between public service and private gain by extending the length and scope of the cooling off period between leaving office and entering private lobbying practice.

Open the Back Room. The publics' business shouldn't be conducted behind closed doors. All meetings of Committees of Conference should be opened to the public and the press.

Know What Is Being Voted On. Congress should know what it is voting on, and the public should as well. It is time to require thatcopies of all bills, resolutions and conference committee reports be made available to members, the press and the public at least twenty-four hours before a vote, unless three-quarters of the membership approves a waiver.

End Self-Serving Earmarks. Serving in Congress isn't an opportunity to enrich your friends or line your own pockets, and any member of Congress who earmarks funds for any entity in which he or she has a financial interest should be subject to severe criminal and civil penalties.

Keep Lobbyists Off the House Floor. The floor of the US House of Representatives should be a place of honest andopen debate, not influence peddling. Any former member of the House who works as a lobbyists should be required to surrender his or her floor privileges for the duration of their employment.

This message is authorized and paid for by Citizens for Sullivan, PO Box 1412, Manchester, NH 03105-1412