Reacting to recent lobbying scandals, Congress is considering a wide range of reforms, including a proposal that would ban all privately funded congressional travel. In response, the American Society of Association Executives on January 24 sent a letter to Congress asking that privately funded congressional travel to meetings, conventions, and trade shows not be banned.
In the letter, John H. Graham, CAE, ASAE president and CEO, said: “Congress must create a distinction between unnecessary ‘fact-finding’ trips to exotic locales where the agenda is more socially or recreationally driven, and educational trips to an association meeting or conference, where the association might pay for the elected officials’ domestic plan or train ticket.” He said that such trips “are vitally important for elected officials charged with understanding a huge range of issues and crafting legislation accordingly.”
Graham suggested that an ethics committee or advisory office could be set up to scrutinize all incoming requests for privately funded travel by Congress and their staff as a better way of controlling inappropriate travel.
Click here to download a PDF of the letter, which is called “Lobbying Reform Proposal."