The public comment period for this legislation has ended.

Transparency In Government Act 2008 (Revised)

10 section comments

Title IV - Improving Lobbyist Reporting and Disclosure of Information

Sec. 401. Monthly filing of Lobbying Disclosure Reports.

  1. Monthly Filing Required- Section 5 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1604) is amended

    1. in subsection (a)

      1. by striking `Quarterly' and inserting `Monthly';

      2. by striking `the quarterly period' and insert `the monthly period beginning on the first days of each month'; and

      3. by striking `such quarterly period' and insert `such monthly period'; and

    2. in subsection (b)

      1. in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking quarterly report' and inserting `monthly report';

      2. in paragraph (2), by striking `quarterly filing period' and inserting `monthly period';

      3. in paragraph (3), by striking `quarterly period' and inserting `monthly period'; and

      4. in paragraph (4), by striking `quarterly filing period' and inserting `monthly period'.

  2. Conforming Amendments-

    1. DEFINITION- Section 3 of such Act (2 U.S.C. 1602) is amended in paragraph (10) by striking `three month period' and inserting `one month period'.

    2. REGISTRATION- Section 4 of such Act (2 U.S.C. 1603) is amended

      1. in subsection (a)(3)(A) by striking `quarterly period' and inserting `monthly period'; and

      2. in subsection (b)(3)(A) by striking `quarterly period' and inserting `monthly period'.

    3. ENFORCEMENT- Section 6 of such Act (2 U.S.C. 1605) is amended in paragraph (6) by striking `quarterly period' and inserting `monthly period'.

    4. ESTIMATES- Section 15 of such Act (2 U.S.C. 1610) is amended

      1. in subsection (a)(1) by striking `quarterly period' and inserting `monthly period'; and

      2. in subsection (b)(1) by striking `quarterly period' and inserting `monthly period'.

    5. DOLLAR AMOUNTS-

      1. Section 4 of such Act (2 U.S.C. 1603) is further amended

        1. in subsection (a)(3)(A)(i), by striking `$2,500' and inserting `$750';

        2. in subsection (a)(3)(A)(ii), by striking `$10,000' and inserting `$3,000';

        3. in subsection (b)(3)(A), by striking `$5,000' and inserting `$2,500'; and

        4. in subsection (b)(4), by striking `$5,000' and inserting `$2,500'.

      2. Section 5 of such Act (2 U.S.C. 1604) is further amended

        1. in subsection (c)(1), by striking `$5,000' and `$10,000' and inserting `$2,500' and `$5,000', respectively; and

        2. in subsection (c)(2), by striking `$5,000' both places such term appears and inserting `$2,500'.

Sec. 402. Identification of officials with whom lobbying contacts are made.

Section 5 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1604) is further amended in subsection (b) by inserting the following new subparagraph:

  1. ` for each specific issue listed pursuant to subparagraph (A), a list identifying each covered executive branch official and each Member of Congress (or the Members name when the lobbyist meets with staff) with whom a lobbyist employed by the registrant engaged in a lobbying contact with respect to that issue;'.

Sec. 403. Disclosure of support or opposition to legislation and earmark requests.

Section 5 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1604) is further amended by adding the following:

  1. for each specific piece of legislation that has been the subject of a lobbying contact, the lobbyist will disclose whether the client on whose behalf the lobby contact was made supports, supports with modifications, or opposes the legislation.

  2. Each monthly report filed shall also contain requests for congressional earmarks (as defined in clause 9(d) of rule XXI of the Rules of the House of Representatives for the One Hundred Tenth Congress)'.

    1. With regard to earmark requests, the report shall include

      1. the name and address of the entity on whose behalf the earmark was requested, along with a list of each individual working for the entity involved in attempts to influence the receipt of an earmark;

      2. the name and address of each entity paid to influence an earmark request, along with a list of each individual performing the services for which such payment is made;

      3. the amount expended to influence a Federal award by the entity completing the report and paid to any entity for such purposes;

      4. how the entity or individual was paid, such as whether it was a commission, hourly rate, or fixed rate;

      5. a description of the issues or Federal awards being discussed; and

      6. the name of the agency or congressional office, including names of individuals, and the number of communications with each agency or congressional office involved in the activity intended to influence a Federal award.

Sec. 404. Monthly reports on certain contributions.

  1. Other Contributions- Section 5 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1604) is further amended by adding at the end the following:

  2. `(d) Monthly Reports on Certain Contributions-

  3. `(1) IN GENERAL- Each person or organization who is registered or is required to register under paragraph (1) or (2) of section 4(a), and each employee who is or is required to be listed as a lobbyist under section 4(b)(6) or subsection (b)(2)(C) of this section, shall file a monthly report report with the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives containing

    1. `(A) the name of the person or organization;

    2. `(B) in the case of an employee, his or her employer;

    3. `(C) the names of all political committees established or controlled by the person or organization;

    4. `(D) the name of each Federal candidate or officeholder, leadership PAC, or political party committee, to whom aggregate contributions equal to or exceeding $200 were made by the person or organization, or a political committee established or controlled by the person or organization within the monthly period, and the date and amount of each such contribution made within the monthly period;

    5. `(E) the date, recipient, and amount of funds contributed or disbursed during the monthly period by the person or organization or a political committee established or controlled by the person or organization

      1. `(i) to pay the cost of an event to honor or recognize a covered legislative branch official or covered executive branch official;

      2. `(ii) to an entity that is named for a covered legislative branch official, or to a person or entity in recognition of such official;

      3. `(iii) to an entity established, financed, maintained, or controlled by a covered legislative branch official or covered executive branch official, or an entity designated by such official; or

      4. `(iv) to pay the costs of a meeting, retreat, conference, or other similar event held by, or in the name of, one or more covered legislative branch officials or covered executive branch officials, except that this subparagraph shall not apply if the funds are provided to a person who is required to report the receipt of the funds under section 304 of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 434);

    6. `(F) the name of each presidential library foundation, and each presidential inaugural committee, to whom contributions equal to or exceeding $200 were made by the person or organization, or a political committee established or controlled by the person or organization, within the semiannual period, and the date and amount of each such contribution within the semiannual period; and

    7. `(G) a certification by the person or organization filing the report that the person or organization

      1. `(i) has read and is familiar with those provisions of the Standing Rules of the Senate and the Rules of the House of Representatives relating to the provision of gifts and travel; and

      2. `(ii) has not provided, requested, or directed a gift, including travel, to a Member of Congress or an officer or employee of either House of Congress with knowledge that receipt of the gift would violate rule XXXV of the Standing Rules of the Senate or rule XXV of the Rules of the House of Representatives.

Sec. 405. Reporting of bundled contributions made by persons other than registered lobbyists.

  1. REQUIRED DISCLOSURE- Each political committee shall be required to file under this section after each covered period (as defined in paragraph (2)) a separate schedule setting forth the name, address, and employer of each person reasonably known by the committee who provided two or more bundled contributions to the committee in an aggregate amount greater than the applicable threshold during the covered period, and the aggregate amount of the bundled contributions provided by each such person during the covered period.

  2. COVERED PERIOD- In this subsection, a `covered period' means, with respect to a committee--

    1. the period beginning January 1 and ending June 30 of each year;

    2. the period beginning July 1 and ending December 31 of each year; and

    3. any reporting period applicable to the committee under this section during which any person described in paragraph (7) provided two or more bundled contributions to the committee in an aggregate amount greater than the applicable threshold.

  3. APPLICABLE THRESHOLD-

    1. IN GENERAL- In this subsection, the `applicable threshold' is $5,000, except that in determining whether the amount of bundled contributions provided to a committee by a person exceeds the applicable threshold, there shall be excluded any contribution made to the committee by the person or the person's spouse.

  4. PUBLIC AVAILABILITY- The Commission shall ensure that

    1. information required to be disclosed under this subsection is publicly available through the Commission Web site in a manner that is searchable, sortable, and downloadable; and

    2. the Commission's public database containing information disclosed under this subsection is linked electronically to the Web sites maintained by the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives containing information filed pursuant to the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995.

  5. COMMITTEES DESCRIBED- A committee described in this paragraph is an authorized committee of a candidate, a leadership PAC, or a political party committee.

  6. DEFINITIONS- For purposes of this subsection, the following definitions apply:

    1. BUNDLED CONTRIBUTION- The term `bundled contribution' means a contribution (subject to the applicable threshold) which is--

      1. forwarded from the contributor or contributors to the committee by the person; or

      2. received by the committee from a contributor or contributors, but credited by the committee or candidate involved (or, in the case of a leadership PAC, by the individual referred to in subparagraph (B) involved) to the person through records, designations, or other means of recognizing that a certain amount of money has been raised by the person.

    2. The term bundled contribution' shall not include any contribution forwarded by or credited to (through records, designations, or other means of recognizing a certain amount of money has been raised) a person who is a regularly paid employee of the committee.

Sec. 406. Reporting of lobbying activities by all persons who bundle contributions.

  1. Not later than 10 days after filing a report required under Sec. 405, Federal campaign committees shall forward to each named contributor of a bundled contribution notice that he or she has been identified in the committees campaign finance report.

  2. The Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1604) is further amended to provide that each individual listed in reports to be required under this section shall produce a report identifying each Member of Congress with whom the individual engaged in significant contact.

  3. Contents of Record and Report- Each record made, and each report filed, under subsection (a) shall contain--

    1. the name of each private party who had a significant contact with that official;

    2. the name of the Member of Congress; and

    3. for each Member of Congress named, a summary of the nature of the contact, including--

      1. the date of the contact;

      2. the subject matter of the contact and the specific action, if any, to which the contact relates; and

      3. if the contact was made on behalf of a client, the name of the client.

  4. Electronic Filing and Public Access

    1. The Lobbying Disclosure Act is amended to provide the following:`each person required to file a lobby report under this provision shall be required to maintain and file such report in electronic form accessible by computers.'

    2. The Secretary of the Senate, and the Clerk of the House shall make reports required under this provision available to the public on the Internet in a searchable, sortable, downloadable format within 48 hours (Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays excepted) after they are received.

  5. For purposes of this provision, a significant contact is defined-

    1. `(A) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in subparagraph (B), the term `significant contact' means oral or written communication (including electronic communication) that is made by a private party to a covered executive branch official in which such private party seeks to influence official action by any officer or employee of the executive branch of the United States.

    2. `(B) EXCEPTION- The term `significant contact' does not include any communication that is an exception to the definition of `lobbying contact'--

      1. `(i) under clauses (i) through (vii) or clauses (ix) through (xix) of subparagraph (B) of paragraph (8) of section 3 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1602(8)(i)-(vii) or (ix)-(xix)); or

      2. `(ii) with respect to publicly available information only, under clause (viii) of subparagraph (B) of paragraph (8) of section 3 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1602(8)(viii)).

Sec. 407. Expansion of lobbying activities to be reported where there is coordination with registered lobbyists.

  1. Notwithstanding any other provision in this Act, lobbyist reporting requirements are triggered when an individual spends 10 percent of his or her time in a monthly reporting period coordinating lobbying activities with others who are required to register and report under this act.

  2. For purposes of this section, coordinating lobbying activities includes planning, strategizing, and advising on the lobbying activities of others.

Sec. 408. Disclosure of paid advertising activities by lobbyists.

  1. The Lobbying Disclosure Act is amended to require registered lobbyists monthly reports to include expenditures for paid advertising when such advertising:

    1. Refers to Federal legislation;

    2. Reflects a point of view on the legislation;

    3. Includes a call to action to the general public to take action in respect to the legislation; and

    4. Relates to issues which the registered lobbyist has engaged in direct lobbying during the same reporting period.

  2. A "call to action" is a statement in a paid advertisement that:

    1. States that the recipient of the message should contact a legislator or other relevant government employee for the purposes of influencing legislation; or

    2. states the address, telephone number, or similar information regarding a legislator or legislative body employee; or

    3. provides a petition or post card of similar means for the recipient to contact a legislator or legislative body employee; or

    4. specifically identifies a legislator or legislators who will vote on the legislation as being opposed to or undecided about the organizations view on the legislation or a member of a legislative (sub)committee which will vote on the legislation.

    5. Identifying the sponsor of a bill would not be considered a call to action.

  3. Disclosure of paid advertising include the following shall include:

    1. The amount spent on paid advertising

    2. The client name

    3. The person or entity paid to for design and production of the paid advertising, and

    4. Issue area code.

  4. The term 'paid advertising' means communications on television, radio, billboards, and general circulation newspapers and magazines, Web sites, electronic mailing groups, networks, and social applications for which a fee is paid.