Timothy LaPira, a political science professor at James Madison University, said he believes the declining number of registered lobbyists stems from a 2007 expansion of the lobbying disclosure law that toughened penalties, increased reporting requirements and charged the Government Accountability Office with conducting annual audits of lobby reports. That, combined with President Barack Obama’s ban on hiring most lobbyists for jobs in his administration, may have led to people de-registering.
LaPira noted during the online chat that the GAO is only required to follow up on lobbying reports that are filed.
“Congress did not require them to investigate those who do not register,” he wrote. “The consequence — intended or not — is that we now have less transparency about what most people would think of as lobbying influence, not more.”
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.