Federal Bills Concerning Ethics Being Reintroduced - State and Federal Communications

January 14, 2021  •  

Federal Bills Concerning Ethics Being Reintroduced

U.S. House of Representatives Chamber - from their Public Domain

Legislation aimed at reforming U.S. campaign finance, lobbying, and ethic laws is being reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. H.R. 1, For the People Act 2021, is a sweeping 791-page bill incorporating much of H.R. 1 introduced in 2019 by the last Congress. That bill passed the House in the previous Congress but never got a vote in the U.S. Senate.

Among the changes in the bill, H.R. 1 restructures the Federal Election Commission and amends federal conflict of interest and lobbying laws. Introduced by Rep. John Sarbanes, the bill requires enhanced disclosure of donors making political contributions, creates a multiple matching system for small donations for political campaigns, and amends rules governing super PACs. If passed, the bill also requires presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns, prohibits partisan gerrymandering, increases oversight over election vendors, creates an automatic voter registration across the country, and changes registration requirements for lobbyists and foreign agents.

Another bill reintroduced is H.R. 244, Executive Branch Conflict of Interest Act, which expands and establishes new prohibitions related to conflicts of interest involving certain federal government employees, prohibits a federal government employee from accepting a bonus from a former private sector employer for entering government service, and increases lobbying restrictions to two years for certain senior officials. H.R. 244 also prohibits a procurement officer in the federal government from working for a company that received a contract overseen by the procurement officer during the officer’s last two years in government service.

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