updated 3/14/2006 9:25:51 PM ET 2006-03-15T02:25:51

Lobbyists would be required to disclose the gifts they give lawmakers and members of the House would be temporarily barred from taking privately funded trips under legislation endorsed Tuesday night by GOP House leaders, according to Republican officials.

  1. Other political news of note
    1. Animated Boehner: 'There's nothing complex about the Keystone Pipeline!'

      House Speaker John Boehner became animated Tuesday over the proposed Keystone Pipeline, castigating the Obama administration for not having approved the project yet.

    2. Budget deficits shrinking but set to grow after 2015
    3. Senate readies another volley on unemployment aid
    4. Obama faces Syria standstill
    5. Fluke files to run in California

Responding to a Republican-tinted corruption scandal that erupted earlier this year, GOP leaders also agreed to support a requirement for lawmakers to disclose when they place money in a spending bill for pet projects, these officials said.

In addition, Republicans intend to seek limits on outside political organizations that currently are permitted to accept unlimited donations from individuals. Republicans say that Democrats benefit disproportionately from these groups, and Republicans envision imposing a cap of slightly more than $27,000 on individual donations along with a requirement that donors be disclosed by name.

The officials who described the details of the emerging package said they remain subject to change. They spoke on condition of anonymity, saying the leaders are to brief the Republican rank and file on Wednesday.

Trying to jump-start campaign
Eight months before the midterm elections, majority Republicans are hoping to re-energize a campaign designed to rehabilitate the image of lawmakers and curtail the influence of lobbyists in the wake of a scandal involving Jack Abramoff. The GOP lobbyist pleaded guilty in January to federal corruption charges. He has yet to be sentenced, but the probe continues and he has been cooperating with investigators.

Senate debate on a companion bill was suspended last week after controversy flared over plans by a Dubai-owned company to take over terminal operations at six U.S. ports. It was unclear when GOP leaders intended to resume the debate on the ethics bill.

It was also unclear when the House GOP leadership intended to bring the legislation to the floor.

Current House rules permit lawmakers to accept gifts of up to $50 in value and totaling no more than $100 in a year from any individual. Under the change envisioned by GOP leaders, officials said, lobbyists would face a first-time requirement to disclose their gifts, including meals.

Holding pattern on private travel
The ban on privately funded travel would remain in place until the House ethics committee was able to establish an alternative designed to scrutinize trips and make sure they complied with the rules.

Another recommended change would allow lawmakers to fly on corporate jets at the cost of a first-class ticket, according to Republicans familiar with the plan. Registered lobbyists would be barred from such flights, however.

Details of the recommended change involving so-called earmarks — the practice of lawmakers commanding federal funds for pet projects — was unclear. The issue has divided Republicans, with many conservatives demanding an end to the practice and members of the Appropriations Committee and many others defending it.

Hoping to corral 527s
Republican leaders have long wanted to crack down on nonparty political groups known as 527s, a reference to the tax code, that escaped regulation when Congress last passed legislation designed to reduce the influence of money in politics.

They attempted last year to attach legislation dealing with the groups to an unrelated defense measure. They were forced to abandon the effort when the Senate resisted.

Officials said the GOP leaders wanted to make one significant change affecting House campaigns. As outlined, it would allow the Republican and Democratic campaign committees to provide unlimited coordinated assistance to candidates.

Current law allows the committees to provide about $70,000 in coordinated funds. Anything in excess must be spent without communication between the committee and the candidate.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments