Michael Bennet
Michael Bennet

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) have introduced the Curtailing Lobbyists and Empowering Americans for a New (CLEAN) Politics Act to ban lobbyists from soliciting, bundling or arranging large campaign contributions for Congressional candidates and to close lobbying regulation gaps and loopholes.

The bill would tighten the Lobbying Disclosure Act provision that requires registration if a person makes two lobbying contacts over a two-year period and who spends more than 20 percent of his or time in a quarter serving a particular client.

The Bennett/Sarbanes measure would require LDA registration if a person makes a single contact for a client over two years, regardless of the time spent repping the client.

CLEAN would mandate registration if a person provides "strategic advice" on how to influence the government, even if he or she did not make a direct lobbying contact. E.g., AT&T and Novartis paid Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's personal lawyer, for advice on how to lobby the Trump White House.

The Act would ban soliciting, bundling or arranging campaign cash of more than the $2,700 per-election individual cap on contributions.

It would close the loophole that allows firms representing foreign clients to register under the LDA rather than the more stringent Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA).

Bennet blames Washington's "corruption of inaction" on endless lobbying and fundraising. "The CLEAN Politics Act would reduce the influence of lobbyists so we can get back to the business of governing in a way that is responsive to our constituents," he said.