WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley has introduced legislation to require political intelligence firms and political intelligence consultants to register and list their clients as lobbyists are required to do.
“There are benefits to transparency just about wherever it’s applied,” Grassley said. “We’ve seen how the disclosure of prescription drug company payments to doctors helps inform the public about that part of medicine. Having political intelligence firms disclose their activities would inform the public. It wouldn’t stop the free flow of information. It would remove the mystery behind who’s gathering the information.”
The Political Intelligence Transparency Act of 2016 (S. 2738) would apply the requirements of the Lobbying Disclosure Act to political intelligence firms and political intelligence consultants. The firms and individuals would have to register with Congress and disclose their clients, as lobbyists long have been required to do.
Several good government groups called the bill “a straightforward transparency measure” for a growing industry in Washington and urged senators to co-sponsor it. They include American Family Voices, the Campaign for Accountability, the Center for Media and Democracy, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Common Cause, the Government Accountability Project, the New Progressive Alliance, Public Citizen and the Sunlight Foundation.
A similar bill is pending in the House of Representatives from Rep. Louise Slaughter.