News Release

U.S. PIRG Applauds White House Changes to Stimulus Lobbying Rules

For Immediate Release:

On Friday May 29th the White House announced a series of changes to the President’s March 20, 2009, Memorandum on Ensuring Responsible Spending of Recovery Act Funds.

MoPIRG’s Lisa Gilbert stated, “We applaud the decision to link the disclosure requirements to all persons, rather than tying it to the more narrowly defined lobbyist title. By making this change, the administration has closed the loophole which allowed special interest advocates not officially defined as lobbyists to speak to agencies on Recovery spending.”

The changes to the rules include expanding the restriction on oral communications on stimulus fund allocations to include all persons, focusing the restriction on oral communications to target the scenario where concerns about merit-based decision-making are greatest –after competitive grant applications are submitted and before awards are made, and continuing to require immediate internet disclosure on agency websites of all other communications with registered lobbyists.

MoPIRG Democracy Advocate Lisa Gilbert added, “These are good changes which will make the rules tougher on special interests and more focused on the benefits of the spending decisions.”

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