Two new bills introduced today tackle the very problematic issue with lobbyists in Delaware. State Senator Bryan Townsend and State Rep. Paul Baumbach are the main sponsors of each bill showcasing the need for transparency from lobbyists. As well, their peers in the General Assembly will have a lot more to answer for in terms of their relationships with lobbyists. Conflicts of interest will be under the spotlight, as they should be.
Senate Bill 225, sponsored by Townsend, is a much-needed bill that removes exemptions for General Assembly members not being investigated in conflict of interest and code of conduct investigations. The legislation also requires lobbyists to disclose any payments they receive, including the source of the payment and the amount.
House Bill 385, sponsored by Baumbach, would make it so lobbyists have to pay a registration fee to offset the costs imposed on the Public Integrity Commission. Many lobbyists pose a conflict of interest and this bill would actually generate funds in a situation that deals with this ongoing issue.
Both of these bills are very welcome in my opinion. We can’t cut the rot out of Delaware politics until we get to the root of it. And unfortunately for the good lobbyists, there are many bad ones. In most investigations, it becomes a standard game of follow the money. If both of these bills pass, that will be much easier.
This will get real interesting with the Delaware State Education Association (DSEA) and the Delaware Charter Schools Network. In Delaware education, they are both at Legislative Hall for anything education related. I would love to know how much the lobbyists for the Delaware Business Roundtable make as well.
Updated, 5:20pm: I’m now seeing a third bill introduced today, once again by Townsend. Senate Bill 224 deals with Campaign Finance Reform and disclosure of a contributor’s occupation and employment information. This is already done in federal elections. It looks like the transparency train is finally making a stop in Dover…