…because today, the first lobbying disclosure reports are due to be filed with Congress under new rules that flowed from the Jack Abramoff scandal. The new law requires quarterly reports, lowers the dollar amount of activity that triggers reporting requirements, and (my favorite), requires trade associations to identify their members in certain circumstances.
Let me expand on this last requirement–trade associations and coalitions (such as the American Chemistry Council, the Chamber of Commerce, and the like) now have to identify the actual companies behind lobbying efforts when their member companies contribute more than $5,000 and have some involvement in planning the lobbying activities.
This is very important because it is these trade association and coalitions that are chief purveyors of denialist tactics, and they mask the advocacy of their membership. As a result, it will be much easier to link companies with actual lobbying positions and tactics. This will make it harder for companies to hide behind their coalitions, which are often shameless and accountable to no one. It’s one more imperfect step towards more accountability in business lobbying, and you can download the filings here.