The morning news contains reports that the Obama administration will restrict the use of federal bailout money when it comes to lobbying. The recently confirmed Secretary of the Treasury is prepared to issue rules:
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is expected to unveil new rules Tuesday to limit special-interest influence involving the $700 billion financial rescue program.
The new rules are designed to crack down on lobbyist influence over the rescue program, according to an administration official with knowledge of the changes.
The new rules do not go far enough since they only, "...restrict the contact officials can have with lobbyists in connection with applications for funds from the bailout program..."
Of greater concern is the money that goes to the banks, insurance companies, and automakers and then finds its way into campaigns. As I noted yesterday,
The bulk of the money will be used to purchase campaign “issue ads.” These trade associations will either directly make the purchase, as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce did last fall to try to re-elect Norm Coleman (R-MN), or funneled to organizations like The Institute for Tort Reform, Americans for Prosperity, and even All Children Matter, who will then purchase issue ads to reward their friends.
Follow the money. Your tax dollars went from the federal government to the Citigroup to trade associations to issue groups to buy television ads to influence elections.