An amendment authored by Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) on lobbying disclosures was included in the final package of H.R. 1, the For the People Act, which was voted on Friday, March 8.
The For the People Act is described as the most sweeping piece of election reform and anti-corruption legislation since the Watergate Era, and the Harder amendment says that whenever a registered lobbyist makes contact with members of the Legislative or Executive Branch, they must disclose they are a lobbyist and which clients they work for.
“In the Central Valley, too many people pay outrageous prices for prescription drugs. Too many lack access to affordable health care. And too many struggle in an economy that doesn’t work equally for everyone. None of this is an accident – it’s the price we pay for Washington’s pay-to-play culture of corruption. That’s why today’s vote on the For the People Act is a bold step towards making sure our government works for hard working families, not well-connected insiders,” Harder said. “I am proud that this bill contains my amendment to bring greater transparency to lobbying in DC. If someone is being paid to influence elected officials, they should have to say who they actually work for.”
Among the highlights of the For The People Act, it ends the dominance of big money in politics and empowers American citizens by shining a light on secret money in politics through increased donor disclosure requirements and strengthening campaign finance oversight. H.R. 1 also reaffirms that Congress and the States have the authority to regulate campaign contributions and expenditures.
The For the People Act expands early and absentee voting, and introduces automatic voter registration, and takes aim at discriminatory barriers to voting by ending the indiscriminate purging of eligible voters from the rolls. It also makes investments to protect the integrity of elections against foreign interference and ensures confidence in election results.
H.R. 1 expands conflict of interest law and divestment requirements for the White House, executive Branch personnel, members of Congress, the Supreme Court, lobbyists, and foreign agents. It also ensures watchdogs have sufficient resources to enforce the law.
“There are a lot of issues we need to tackle in this Congress, but year after year the corrupting influence of big money in politics has been the single biggest obstacle to getting things done,” Harder added. “I’ve long called for action on campaign finance reform and anti-corruption legislation. This bill is ambitious, but it’s what the moment calls for. It’s what the Central Valley deserves. Because at the end of the day, our democracy should be open to every American.”