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Cantor’s Wall Street Move Highlights Disclosure Law Loophole

Cantor’s Wall Street Move Highlights Disclosure Law Loophole

It was no tip that Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, who mislaid in his Jun GOP primary, spent a summer job-hunting. But it came as a warn when a CEO of a Wall Street investment bank announced this week that he had hired a former House infancy personality as handling executive — for at slightest $3 million in money and stock over a subsequent year and a half.

Wasn’t Cantor ostensible to divulge a pursuit negotiations to a House Ethics Committee? And wasn’t that ostensible to be done public? Isn’t there a law about that?

The answers: Yes. No. And we usually suspicion so.

Negotiations for post-Congress work was a pivotal underline in a Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007. Congress was broke by a Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, that sent one congressman to prison. Only somewhat reduction ungainly were a departures of some lawmakers and comparison staffers to work for industries they had only been regulating.

The primary instance was former Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La. As authority of a Energy and Commerce Committee, he oversaw a essay of a Medicare prescription-drug benefit. A tiny later, he quiescent and went to work for PhRMA, a lobbying organisation for prescription-drug producers.

The resolution that Congress came adult with: need lawmakers and high-level staffers to publicly divulge when they start negotiating with a impending employer. Not when a understanding is sealed, though when a critical articulate begins. If there are conflicts with ongoing legislation, recusals would be required.

This wasn’t a new idea. Republicans had authorized it in 2006, when they tranquil a House. In 2007, with Democrats in charge, a proponents were Sens. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Barack Obama of Illinois, and Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, then-chairman of a House Judiciary Committee.

But when Conyers’ cabinet began operative on a provision, a tiny change was made. The strange breeze would have had job-seeking lawmakers news their negotiations to a clerk of a House. The Judiciary Committee altered it but explanation. Those eager-to-leave lawmakers would news to a House Ethics Committee instead. (The row was afterwards famous as a House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.)

House Ethics has historically resisted disclosure. Here, it motionless that when a lawmaker discloses to a committee, that’s avowal enough. Besides, a law doesn’t contend “public disclosure,” and conjunction did many House members or remodel advocates as they discussed it. By comparison, a House clerk is a indication of transparency, obliged for publicly disclosing, among other things, transport by House members, bureau budgets and lobbyists’ activity.

The watchdog organisation Public Citizen calculates that given a law took effect, 212 House members have mislaid or retired. Just 3 of them reported negotiating for post-Congress practice all in a initial year after enactment.

As for Cantor, he quiescent his House chair dual weeks ago, dual months after his warn primary detriment — and some-more than a month after published reports contend he began articulate with his new employer, Moelis Co. Which means a avowal law appears to have misfired again.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, revisit http://www.npr.org/.

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