The Note: Touching a Nerve

The leadership-backed proposal "would temporarily bar lawmakers from privately financed trips and require lobbyists to disclose their gifts to lawmakers. The proposal also includes a requirement for lawmakers to disclose so-called earmarks, special financing for pet projects that they insert into legislation. . .," writes Stolberg.

Elana Schor and Patrick O'Connor of the Hill preview the results of the House GOP's yesterday meeting on lobbying reform, which will result this week in a bill expected "to impose new disclosure standards on lobbyist-paid gifts and meals, restrictions on privately sponsored travel and transparency requirements for member earmarks." LINK

Backed by recent examples, Alexander Bolton of the Hill points out that even if House members voted overwhelmingly to ban former lawmakers from gym facilities, these reforms are "largely meaningless" because lawmakers-turned-lobbyists still have access to members' dining rooms. LINK

Per the Associated Press, House Republicans last night said they would back legislation that would require lobbyists to disclose their gifts to lawmakers and would temporarily ban privately funded trips. LINK

Roll Call's ed board isn't letting Senate leaders forget that they promised to have a lobbying reform bill on the floor by March. It's the middle of March and the only thing they've delivered is a new date: April 10.

Per Bloomberg, Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) and Rep. Martin Meehan (D-MA) say House Republicans are trying to undo their 2002 campaign finance legislation, which had banned unlimited corporate and union political donations, by blocking regulation of spending on the Internet. LINK

Politics of energy:

Yesterday's tough Judiciary Committee hearings for oil executives "underscored the potency of the energy issue for this year's election campaign," writes the Washington Post's Paul Blustein. LINK

"Republicans have generally sympathized with the free-market arguments advanced by the [oil] industry, but some fear that Democrats will exploit public discontent, especially in northern states."

The Wall Street Journal says former Sens. Bob Dole (R-KS) and Tom Daschle (D-SD) are joining an unlikely union of agricultural interests and environmental groups in order to push through new legislation to encourage renewable energy sources made from farm byproducts. No word yet on the farm team's stance on switchgrass.

The Schwarzenegger Era:

The Los Angeles Times' Dan Morain reports that film producer Rob Reiner's involvement with a California state commission has forced all 14 state Republican senators to publicly urge Gov. Schwarzenegger to remove Reiner from the panel. LINK

House of Labor:

David Leonahrdt of the New York Times suggests a Wal-Mart bank would be competition for Wall Street more than harm the "little guy." LINK

To which Wal-Mart Watch spokesgal Tracy Sefl replies: "It sounds like David Leonhardt bought a new Jump to Conclusions Mat at his local Wal-Mart."

On its blog late yesterday, the AFL-CIO unveiled a new union-sponsored study showing that Wal-Mart's "refusal" to pay "decent" wages and provide "affordable" health insurance is costing taxpayers "millions" to provide health care coverage to Wal-Mart workers. LINK

"Wal-Mart's refusal to pay decent wages and provide affordable health insurance to its workers puts it atop the list in at least 19 of the 23 states surveyed here," according to the AFL-CIO's report on "The Wal-Mart Tax."

Politics of immigration:

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