WASHINGTON-Insisting that not all lobbyists are like disgraced lobbyist Jack Abromoff, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is warning Congress not to be overly zealous in its reform efforts.
Testifying before a Senate committee looking into the matter, NAM president, John Engler, warned that, "just as the majority of senators and representatives always conduct themselves in a legal and ethical manner, so, too, do the vast majority of lobbyists."
According to Engler, "The NAM lobbies Congress and the executive branch to educate and inform policymakers about the impact of legislation, executive actions and other policies....In our fast-paced 21st century, such timely information is essential."
Among other concerns, NAM is advising that in its attempt to limit gifts and meals, Congress should not create a "paperwork nightmare" for trade organizations that use legitimate working meals and similar functions to educate elected leaders and staff.
NAM is also worried that Congress may limit the ability of trade associations and their members to sponsor out-of-Washington activities that serve to educate policymakers on the "real-life impact" of their actions.
According to NAM, "Members of Congress must remember the concept of personal responsibility and look inward to enforce existing ethics rules before blaming problems on lobbyists and creating a morass of new rules."