Lobbying Disclosure: A Recipe for Reform

William V. Luneburg, University of Pittsburgh School of Law
Thomas M. Susman, Ropes & Gray LLP


Our article focuses on those inadequacies, including the constitutional issues that may be presented. We have tried succinctly to present some of the historical background for lobbying disclosure, the constitutional constraints of particular relevance, a summary of the current federal law, and finally (and most importantly) a discussion of what we believe are the most significant changes that should be made to the LDA. As the article indicates, many of the advocates for reform during the current lobbying scandals have, in our view, mistakenly discounted the potential value of lobbying disclosure as a deterrent to improper behavior. We believe that an amended LDA with broader disclosure obligations and a better enforcement mechanism will go a long way in preventing a repetition of the abuses that have come to light. While theory is important to this area, what is more important is a recipe for reform that has some chance of enactment—we believe we have formulated such a list of important and feasible reforms.

Much of the work draws on our efforts to produce THE LOBBYING MANUAL: A COMPLETE GUIDE TO FEDERAL LAW GOVERNING LAWYERS AND LOBBYISTS (3d ed. 2005), whose publication coincided with the beginnings of the current scandal and which has received considerable publicity as a result. We should note, by the way, the almost complete absence in the legal literature of detailed discussions of the LDA and lobbying disclosure generally. We believe our article helps to fill the important scholarly gap that currently exists in that regard.