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Conference to Tackle Lobbying, Ethics Reform in U.S., Europe

By Dave DeFusco

Lobbying Reform Conference on March 17

The first international conference of academics and reformers in Washington, D.C., on the current state of lobbying and ethics reform in the United States and Europe will take place on Monday, March 17, at American University.

Robert Bauer, President Obama’s former White House counsel and now a partner in the Washington law firm of Perkins-Coie, will deliver the keynote address at 12:30 p.m. on the successes and failure of the Obama administration to implement lobbying and ethics reform.

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“With the massive increase in the amount of money flowing into election campaigns in the U.S. and the ‘bribes for amendments’ scandal in Brussels, there is continued focus on how to improve ethics and lobbying in the U.S. and Europe,” said James Thurber, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at the School of Public Affairs and organizer of the conference.

The conference will focus on the causes and characteristics of lobbying and ethics reform in the United States, including the efforts of President Obama, since he took office in 2009 and when he was a U.S. Senator in 2007. Participants from Europe will also describe the lobbying and ethics reforms in the European Union Commission and Parliament and in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations.

The “Conference on Lobbying Reform in the U.S and the E.U.,” co-sponsored by the School of International Service and the School of Public Affairs, will take place in Mary Graydon Center room 5.

"While debate on lobbying reform has stalled in Congress, this conference is intended to keep a light on this issue and frame the debate for the 2016 presidential election," said Patrick Griffin, associate director for public policy programs at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies. “It is rare that reformers and academics will focus on measures to assess the impact of lobbying reform.” 

The conference is partially supported by a grant from the European Union and with support from the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University’s School of Public Affairs.