Harder Amendment Adopted As House Passes Historic Anti-Corruption Legislation

March 8, 2019
Press Release

Washington D.C.—Today, in a major win against Washington’s culture of corruption, an amendment authored by Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) on lobbying disclosures was included in the final package of H.R. 1, the For the People Act.

The For the People Act is the most sweeping piece of election reform and anti-corruption legislation since the Watergate Era, and the Harder amendment says that whenever a registered lobbyist makes contact with members of the Legislative or Executive Branch, they must disclose they are a lobbyist and which clients they work for.

  • Watch Rep. Harder Speak In Support of His Amendment HERE
  • Watch Rep. Harder Speak at the For the People Act Press Conference HERE

 

After the Vote, Rep. Harder Released the Following Statement:

“In the Central Valley, too many people pay outrageous prices for prescription drugs. Too many lack access to affordable health care. And too many struggle in an economy that doesn’t work equally for everyone. None of this is an accident—it’s the price we pay for Washington’s pay-to-play culture of corruption. That’s why today’s vote on the For the People Act is a bold step towards making sure our government works for hard working families, not well-connected insiders.

I am proud that this bill contains my amendment to bring greater transparency to lobbying in DC. If someone is being paid to influence elected officials, they should have to say who they actually work for.

There are a lot of issues we need to tackle in this Congress, but year after year the corrupting influence of big money in politics has been the single biggest obstacle to getting things done. I’ve long called for action on campaign finance reform and anti-corruption legislation. This bill is ambitious, but it’s what the moment calls for. It’s what the Central Valley deserves. Because at the end of the day, our democracy should be open to every American.”

 

BACKGROUND ON THE FOR THE PEOPLE ACT

  • The For The People Act Reduces The Hold Of Dark Money In Politics.
    • The For the People Act ends the dominance of big money in our politics and empowers American citizens by shining a light on secret money in politics through increased donor disclosure requirements and strengthening campaign finance oversight. H.R. 1 also reaffirms that Congress and the States have the authority to regulate campaign contributions and expenditures – pushing back on the Supreme Court’s Citizens United and Buckley decisions.
  • The For The People Act Makes Easier For People To Vote.
    • The For the People Act expands early and absentee voting, and introduces automatic voter registration, and takes aim at discriminatory barriers to voting by ending the indiscriminate purging of eligible voters from the rolls. It also makes long overdue investments to protect the integrity of our elections against foreign interference and ensures confidence in election results
  • The For The People Act Makes Sure Public Officials Work for the People, Not Big Donors And Lobbyists
    • ­­­H.R. 1 takes aim at the culture of corruption in Washington by expanding conflict of interest law and divestment requirements for the White House, executive Branch personnel, members of Congress, the Supreme Court, lobbyists, and foreign agents. It also ensures watchdogs have sufficient resources to enforce the law.

Transcript of Rep. Harder’s Prepared Remarks In Support of His Amendment to HR 1:

I rise today to urge my colleagues to support my amendment to limit the influence of lobbyists on elected officials.

Here’s a stat that blows me away—DC is home to 11,000 registered lobbyists. That’s 25 Lobbyists per member of Congress.

During one of my first nights in DC I got invited to dinner with some of my freshmen colleagues. I thought it was going to be a chance to talk about the issues that I hear from families in my community, the costs of health care, education, maybe jobs.

But imagine my surprise when the only things those lobbyists wanted to talk about was what would benefit their clients.

This happens in this city every day. Thousands of lobbyists here in one city, creating an ecosystem of easy access where they can push their clients’ agendas in front of elected representatives.

There is an alarming divide between Washington and my district, the Central Valley, it shows that it’s far too easy for well-financed lobbyists to crowd out the needs of our families in favor of their clients.

So my amendment is simple.

It says that if you’re a lobbyist, and you reach out to a member of Congress, you must make clear you’re a lobbyist. You must make clear who your clients are. You must tell us who pays you.

It’s common sense.

Back home, I hear a common frustration—that Washington doesn’t listen. The problem is real. And it’s got to stop.

My community has had enough with backroom deals. This amendment is one step in the right direction, and I urge this body to vote in favor.

Thank you Chair Lofgren, and I yield back.

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