IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
August 5, 2015
Mr. Bennet (for himself and Mr. Franken) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
To provide greater controls and restrictions on revolving door lobbying.
This Act may be cited as the
Close the Revolving Door Act of 2015.
Lifetime ban on Members of Congress from lobbying
Section 207(e)(1) of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
Members of Congress
Any person who is a Senator, a Member of the House of Representatives, or an elected officer of the Senate or the House of Representatives and who, after that person leaves office, knowingly makes, with the intent to influence, any communication to or appearance before any Member, officer, or employee of either House of Congress or any employee of any other legislative office of the Congress, on behalf of any other person (except the United States) in connection with any matter on which such former Senator, Member, or elected official seeks action by a Member, officer, or employee of either House of Congress, in his or her official capacity, shall be punished as provided in section 216 of this title.
Section 207(e)(2) of title 18, United States Code, is amended—
in the heading, by striking
Officers and staff and inserting
an elected officer of the Senate, or;
leaves office or employment and inserting
leaves employment; and
former elected officer or.
Paragraphs (2), (3)(A), (4), (5)(A), and (6)(A) of section 207(e) of title 18, United States Code, are each amended by striking
1 year and inserting
Improved reporting of lobbyists’ activities
Section 6 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1605) is amended by adding at the end the following:
Joint web site
The Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives shall maintain a joint lobbyist disclosure Internet database for information required to be publicly disclosed under this Act which shall be an easily searchable Web site called lobbyists.gov with a stated goal of simplicity of usage.
Authorization of appropriations
There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this subsection $100,000 for fiscal year 2016.
Lobbyist revolving door to Congress
In this section—
the term foreign principal has the meaning given that term under section 1(b) of the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (22 U.S.C. 611(b));
the terms lobbyist and lobbying contact have the meanings given such terms under section 3 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1603); and
the term registered lobbyist means a lobbyist registered under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.).
Any person who is a registered lobbyist or an agent of a foreign principal may not, within 6 years after that person leaves such position, be hired by a Member or committee of either House of Congress with whom the registered lobbyist or agent of a foreign principal has had substantial lobbying contact.
This section may be waived in the Senate or the House of Representatives by the Select Committee on Ethics of the Senate or the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct of the House of Representatives, respectively, based on a compelling national need.
Substantial lobbying contact
For purposes of this section, in determining whether a registered lobbyist or agent of a foreign principal has had substantial lobbying contact within the applicable period of time, a Member or committee of either House of Congress shall take into consideration whether the individual's lobbying contacts have pertained to pending legislative business, or related to solicitation of an earmark or other Federal funding, particularly if such contacts included the coordination of meetings with the Member or committee, involved presentations to employees of the Member or committee, or participation in fundraising (except for the mere giving of a personal contribution). Simple social contacts with the Member or committee of either House of Congress and staff, shall not by themselves constitute substantial lobbying contacts.
Reporting by substantial lobbying entities
The Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 6 the following:
Reporting by substantial lobbying entities
A substantial lobbying entity shall file on an annual basis with the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate a list of each employee of, individual under contract with, or individual who provides paid consulting services to the substantial lobbying entity who is—
a former Senator or a former Member of the House of Representatives; or
another covered legislative branch official who—
was paid not less than $100,000 in any 1 year as a covered legislative branch official;
worked for a total of not less than 4 years as a covered legislative branch official; or
had a job title at any time while employed as a covered legislative branch official that contained any of the following terms:
Chief of Staff,
Professional Staff Member,
Communications Director, or
Contents of filing
The filing required under this section shall contain a brief job description of each individual described in subsection (a) and an explanation of their work experience under subsection (a) that requires this filing.
Improved reporting of substantial lobbying entities
The Joint Web site being maintained by the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives, known as lobbyists.gov, shall include an easily searchable database entitled
Substantial Lobbying Entities that includes information on all individuals described in subsection (a).
Law enforcement oversight
The Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate shall provide a copy of each filing under subsection (a) to the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, to allow the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia to determine whether a substantial lobbying entity is underreporting the lobbying activities of its employees, individuals under contract, or individuals who provide paid consulting services.
Substantial lobbying entity
In this section, the term substantial lobbying entity means an incorporated entity that employs more than 3 registered lobbyists during a filing period.
Section 7(a) of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1606(a)) is amended by striking
$200,000 and inserting