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Statement on Signing the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995

December 19, 1995

Today I am pleased to approve S. 1060, the "Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995." I have strongly supported the purposes and principles embodied in this legislation since the beginning of my Administration. During my first days in office, I barred all top executive branch officials from lobbying their agencies for 5 years after leaving office and from ever lobbying for foreign governments. During the 103rd Congress, my Administration lent its strong support to congressional backers of legislation that served as the model for the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995.

As a general matter, S. 1060 provides for the disclosure of efforts by paid lobbyists to influence the decision-making process and actions of Federal legislative and executive branch officials. It replaces the existing patchwork of lobbying disclosure laws with a single, uniform statute that covers the activities of all professional lobbyists. Among other things, the bill streamlines lobbyist disclosure requirements and requires that professional lobbyists register and file regular reports identifying their clients, the issues on which they lobby, and the amount of their compensation. These are important steps in the right direction.

The Department of Justice has identified certain provisions in the Act that raise constitutional concerns—in particular, the role given to the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the specific manner in which the legislation seeks to protect the exercise of religion. I shall instruct the Attorney General to apply and enforce the Act in a constitutional manner. This will ensure that the Act survives any challenge in court and thereby guarantee that the Act is fully effective in accomplishing its objectives, including the protection of religious expression.

In addition, section 21(b) of the Act would forbid the appointment as United States Trade Representative or Deputy United States Trade Representative, of anyone who had ever "directly represented, aided, or advised a foreign [government or political party] . . . in any trade negotiation, or trade dispute with the United States." The Congress may not, of course, impose broad restrictions on the President's constitutional prerogative to nominate persons of his choosing to the highest executive branch positions, and this is especially so in the area of foreign relations. However, because as a policy matter I agree with the goal of ensuring the undivided loyalty of our representatives in trade negotiations, I intend, as a matter of practice, to act in accordance with this provision.


The White House, December 19, 1995.

NOTE: S. 1060, approved December 19, was assigned Public Law No. 104-65.

William J. Clinton, Statement on Signing the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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