When You Look at It That Way: Aggregating Lobbyist Disclosure Reveals There's Not a Whole Lot of It Happening
BY Nancy Scola | Friday, May 15 2009
ProPublica is going the last mile on stimulus lobbying disclosure. President Obama decreed that lobbyist contacts around recovery spending be documented in writing and posted to each individual agency's recovery site, such as the DOD's or DOE's. ProPublica scraped those sites and pulled together the reports in one place. But once the lobbying reports are collected together like that, something becomes immediately apparent: they're aren't a whole lot of them.
So what's the deal? -- Are agencies simply failing to report their lobbying contacts? Are lobbyist meetings simply not happening? Are lobbying-like meetings taking place -- only it's other staffers, and not registered lobbyists, doing the talking? A recent Washington Post piece suggested that the answer is yup to all three. Sunlight's Paul Blumenthal has a critique that suggests that Obama's disclosure law simply isn't up to snuff.