"Shadow Congress": 172 Former Lawmakers Now Lobbyists

TPM Muckraker has found that 172 former members of Congress currently work as lobbyists, regarding this system as "the Shadow Congress." TPM notes that "over the last few decades, a vast army of what might be called uber-lobbyists has taken shape in the capital, made up of retiring lawmakers eager to cash in on K Street after a lifetime of making do with public sector salaries."

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Hearing Considers Counterterrorism Rules and the Effects on Charities

The House Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing to consider how anti-terrorist financing laws impact charities. This is the first time an oversight hearing considered how Treasury's policies impact charitable groups since 9/11.

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DISCLOSE Act May Move to House Floor by Friday

After the House Administration Committee marked up the DISCLOSE Act last week, the House Rules committee is scheduled to meet tomorrow (May 27) to report a rule that would send the bill to the floor. H.R. 5175 may be slated for floor action on Friday, May 28, just before the congressional recess begins.

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State and Local Governments Seek Fees from Nonprofits

NPR reports on the trend where cash strapped state and local governments are looking to tax-exempt groups for funds. "Government officials are proposing new fees on nonprofits to help pay for services. They're also challenging the exemptions these groups get from sales and property taxes."

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House Committee Approves DISCLOSE Act

With a 5-3 vote, the Committee on House Administration approved an amended version of the DISCLOSE Act (Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections), H.R. 5175. The committee adopted a manager's amendment offered by Chairman Robert Brady (D-PA), and incorporated additional changes voted on during the meeting.

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Americans United Files IRS Complaint Against L.A. Church for Electioneering Through Social Media

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service against Oasis Church in Los Angeles. Americans United alleges that the church encouraged visitors to its website and followers on Twitter to support a specific political candidate.

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Groups Increase Election Ad Spending and Candidates Spend Less

As observers monitor whether the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC will have an affect on spending in the 2010 election, recent news indicates that regardless if it's because of the ruling, spending is increasing.

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Committee Holds Second Hearing on DISCLOSE Act

The House Administration Committee held its second hearing on the DISCLOSE Act (H.R. 5175), a bill that would require increased reporting of political campaign spending. House Administration Committee Chairman Robert Brady (D-PA) said, "The bill does not play political favorites. It applies alike to corporations, labor unions, trade associations and nonprofit advocacy organizations."

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House Administration Committee Holds Hearing on DISCLOSE Act

The Committee on House Administration, chaired by Rep. Robert Brady (D-PA) held the first hearing on the DISCLOSE Act (H.R. 5175), and has already announced a second hearing on the bill scheduled for May 11. In his opening statement, Brady said, "The DISCLOSE Act recognizes that American voters are at minimum entitled to full and accurate reporting of campaign spending so that voters may know who is attempting to influence their vote."

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Bill Would Ban Lawmakers from Becoming Lobbyists, Forever

Last week Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) introduced the Close the Revolving Door Act of 2010, (S. 3272), which would permanently ban Members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists after leaving office. The measure would also increase the "cooling off" period for congressional staff from lobbying their former bosses and Committees from one year to six years. Lobbyists would be prohibited from joining congressional staffs that they lobbied for six years.

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