President Barack Obama tonight called for new restrictions on those who try to influence policy in Washington, saying he wants to "end the outsized influence of lobbyists."
In his first State of the Union address, Obama included two proposals targeted at lobbyists: requiring them to disclose "each contact" they make on behalf of a client, either with the executive or legislative branch, and limiting how much lobbyists can contribute to candidates for federal office.
"We face a deficit of trust — deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works that have been growing for years," he said in the prepared remarks. "To close that credibility gap we must take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to end the outsized influence of lobbyists."
He said the proposals would build on the ban he imposed on lobbyists taking administration jobs or serving on federal boards and commissions — though the White House has approved exceptions for lobbyists in some cases. On Monday, The National Law Journal reported how the U.S. State Department was able to get around the ban in at least one case.
Further disclosure requirements could be met with resistance on K Street, particularly among lobbyists who make frequent contact with lawmakers or administration officials, but the idea got some debate last year after Obama took office.