HARRISBURG, PA — Legislation sponsored by Rep. Craig Williams (R-Delaware/Chester), which would require lobbyists to report payments to or from other lobbyists for the referral of clients, was unanimously approved Monday by the House State Government Committee. This bill was part of a package of bills designed to limit the influence of lobbyists and political consultants in state government.
“When professional conflicts of interests arise, lobbyists will often refer their clients to other lobbyists in exchange for a referral fee,” said Williams. “This cozy transaction means that the conflicted lobbyist still gains financial benefit from prior representative of a lobbying client. This exchange needs to be transparent: to the client, to the government being lobbied and to the public.”
Williams’ legislation, House Bill 1605, as amended would require a filed disclosure of payment or acceptance of referral fees for lobbying services as part of lobbyists’ quarterly expense reports.
“Pennsylvanians have a right to open, transparent government that works for them,” said Williams, the former ethics counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former federal prosecutor for the United States Department of Justice. “My bill and the other measures passed today will better guarantee that all decisions in state government are made in the full light of day.”
The 11-bill package passed earlier today also includes measures which would implement prohibitions on the acceptance of certain gifts, transportation, lodging and hospitality by public officials and public employees, require lobbyists to disclose and register any lobbying client conflict with the Department of State (DOS), require campaign consultants who operate within the Commonwealth to register with the DOS, prohibit campaign consultants from concurrently being registered lobbyists and engaging in lobbying elected officials, and require all registered lobbyists to complete mandatory ethics training on an annual basis.
House Bill 1605 now goes to the full house for consideration.
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