A mandatory register is the only solution

Publication date: 
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Olivier Hoedeman
Media title: 
European Voice

[T]he ‘cash-for-influence’ scandal [...] directly highlights the need for mandatory registration and reporting by lobbyists.


If the European Parliament had had a mandatory lobby-transparency system in place, Strasser’s lobby
consultancy firm would have had to register itself, to disclose its clients, the amounts received, the issues lobbied on and the names of its lobbyists, including Strasser.

Such a register would have brought Strasser’s scandalous behaviour out in the open sooner, and measures
would have been taken. In the US, mandatory registration and reporting have helped the Department of Justice discover corruption scandals involving numerous lobbyists and lawmakers, including the lobby consultant Jack Abramoff and Congressman Bob Ney, both of whom were given prison sentences.

A voluntary lobby-transparency register does not provide enough information for proper public scrutiny, and
does not reveal unethical practices. Those who have something to hide will simply choose not to register or not to disclose relevant information.

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