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  • Writer's pictureNILE

Legislation Banning Former Members of Congress From Lobbying Unconstitutional


For Immediate Release Contact: Paul A. Miller

March 1, 2023 P: (703) 383-1330



Fairfax, VA – The National Institute For Lobbying & Ethics (NILE) opposes legislation

introduced in the United States Senate creating a lifetime ban on former members of Congress and elected officers from becoming registered lobbyists after leaving office.


S. 88, the Banning Lobbying And Safeguarding Trust Act (BLAST Act), was introduced by

Senator’s Mike Braun (R-IN) and Rick Scott (R-FL). The BLAST Act would create a lifetime

ban on all former members of Congress and elected officers of the U.S. House of

Representatives and United States Senate from exercising their constitutional right to advocate before their former colleagues in the House or Senate on behalf of another person.


While NILE supports efforts by Senators Braun and Scott to address Lobbying Disclosure Act

(LDA) issues, it opposes this legislation on the grounds that it bans a person’s right afforded

them under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, to petition their government for

redress.


The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of

religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”


“As someone who has been pressing Congress for over 10 years now to make changes to the current Lobbying Disclosure Act, I appreciate what Senators Braun and Scott are trying to do with this legislation,” stated Paul Miller, NILE Board Chairman. “However, this legislation violates the most basic principles of our Constitution, which affords every citizen, including former Members of Congress, the right to petition their government for a redress of grievances,” added Miller.


While NILE opposes S.88, it would like to work with Senators Braun and Scott on changes to

the Lobbying Disclosure Act that would have an immediate impact on transparency and provide the public with the knowledge of who is lobbying and what they are lobbying for. NILE opposes additional regulations but supports modernizing the LDA to meet the original tenets of the regulations. Lobbying continues to change and the LDA needs to keep pace with those changes.


“S.88 is a well-intentioned, yet misguided initiative that will trample on the constitutional rights of our elected officials. S.88 sets a dangerous precedent that will preclude an individual from continuing to have an important role to play in our Nation’s future, essentially penalizing them for having served our republic. If term limits are imposed as well as a lobbying ban, we are effectively removing from the playing field the elder statesmen who have the most to offer. It doesn’t make sense.” stated Jocelyn Hong, NILE President.”


NILE supports every citizen’s right to petition their government. NILE urges Senator Braun to embrace the profession’s Path Forward For the Future, which achieves a modernization of the LDA and accomplishes Senator Braun’s goal of transparency.


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Who is NILE

NILE is a national organization representing lobbying, public policy, and government affairs

professionals. NILE aims to promote professionalism, competence, and high ethical

standards through education. NILE works to provide a unified voice for the profession and the Constitution’s First Amendment right to petition the government.


Above all else, NILE is committed to promoting ethical lobbying. NILE promotes transparency so anyone can go online and see who our clients are, what issues we are working on, and how much we are paid.NILE prescribes a strong Code of Ethics for its members to follow, as well as, a rigorous Public Policy Certificate Program that assures lobbyists have complete knowledge of the legislative and regulatory processes.



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