The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday advanced a fiscal 2013 spending bill that includes restraints on the ability of former U.S. government officials to lobby for countries in which the State Department has observed severe religious persecution.
Tacked on the Financial Services Appropriations bill by voice vote before the legislation moved out of committee, the restrictions would prohibit former members of Congress, ambassadors and other high-ranking officials from advocating for nations that are on the State Department's "Country of Particular Concern" list until 10 years after they've left office.
Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan currently are on that list. The governments of China, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Sudan or entities controlled by them have U.S. lobbyists, according to U.S. Justice Department records.
“When people believe that special interests, especially foreign interests, have undue influence in our system of government, trust in the very institutions of governance is eroded at our great peril,” he said in a written statement.