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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  March 18, 2011 6:00am-9:00am EDT

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government. additional steps must be taken to end the safe havens that insurgents use in pakistan which impact on afghanistan security. general petraeus, at the meeting in brussels last week, and i hope he will address the outcomes from that meeting, including whether any further commitments boo i our nato partners were forth coming to address the continuing shortfall in trainers of afghan troops. also of interest would be the status of any discussions on a longer-term relationship between the united states, nato and afghanistan beyond 2014. again, our thanks to our witnesses for their work on behalf of our nation and for their devotion to the men and women who defend us. senator mccain. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to welcome our distinguished witnesses and thank them for their service to our nation. i want to say a special note of
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thanks to general petraeus. the truest test of a commander is whether he is worthy of the sacrifice made by those he leads, whether the young men and women who we call upon day in and day out to risk their lives for us feel that their commander offers the same degree of devotion as they do. we are fortunate that general petraeus is such a commander. it's congress' highest priority to be just as worthy as the sacrifices made by the men and women of our armed forces and to provide them with everything they need to succeed in their mission of defending our nation. so let me take this opportunity to say again that we urgently need to pass a full year appropriations bill on defense for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 as the secretary of defense has repeatedly called for. it is irresponsible to continue funding our fellow americans
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fighting two wars through piece meal continuing resolutions that do not meet their full needs. perhaps the greatest need of all right now is winning the war in afghanistan, which is the subject of this hearing. the cost of our commitment to this conflict remains substantial, especially the precious lives we have lost. according to one new poll reported on in today's "the washington post," a majority of americans no longer support the war. the next several months will therefore be decisive as winter turns to spring, the traditional fighting season in afghanistan. nato forces will surely face a renewed taliban offensive to this spring to retake the territory and momentum they have lost on the battlefield. those losses have been considerable. u.s. nato and afghan special forces dealt a crushing blow to the mid-level leadership of the taliban and its al qaeda allies.
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afghan and coalition surge forces are recapturing momentum in key terrain areas such as kandahar and hellmund. afghan security forces are improving in quality faster than planned. afghan local police initiative is empowering communities across the country to provide their own security from the bottom up, but kabul does so from the top down. the cumulative effect is that we are turning around the war in afghanistan, but as general petraeus says and will emphasize this progress remains fragile and reversible. the sustainability of our gains will be tested during the fighting season ahead. we should all be very clear before the fact that violence will go up in the months ahead and we will surely encounter setbacks in some places. we need to be exceedingly cautious about withdrawal of u.s. forces this july as the
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president has called for. we should be mindful that perhaps the wisest course of action in july may be to reinvest troops from more secure to less secure parts of afghanistan where additional forces could have decisive impact. we should not rush the failure and cultivate strategic patience this patience will be all the more essential as we wrestle with two other key challenges, which are military operations are necessary, but not sufficient to meet. american taxpayers want to know resources are not being wasted, stolen or misused by afghan officials. we must not allow this legitimate and critical demand to feed a sense of fatalism about our objectives. some are alarmed that the afghan government is at times a weak
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partner, but that's the norm in any counterinsurgency. after all, if our local partners provided good governance, already there would not be an insurgency in the first place. the goal is to create conditions that enable local partners to provide better, more effective and justice for their people. we are not trying to make afghanistan like us but afghanistan used to be prior to the prior three decades of civil war when the country enjoyed half a century of relative peace and rising standards of living. a second key challenge stems from pakistan. the global instability of the country, the insurgent safe havens that remain there, the ties to terrorists that still exist among elements that exist
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and seeming deceleration of our relationship amid the continuing reing of davis. we sought every means to compel pakistan to reorient its strategic calculus short of cutting off u.s. assistance, which we did once before to no positive effect. to be sure, pakistan deserves praise for some steps it has taken to fight al qaeda and taliban groups on the pakistani side of the border. what we must increasingly recognize is perhaps the most effective way to end pakistan ft. for terrorist groups is to succeed in afghanistan. ultimately, it is only when an afghan government and security force is capable of neutralizing the terrorist groups backed by some in pakistan that those pakistani leaders could come to
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see a strategy of hedging their bets in this conflict will only leave them less secure and more isolated. we have made a great deal of progress in afghanistan since the last hearing of this committee on the subject just over a half year ago. whereas the momentum then was with the insurgency, our forces now blunted it in many places and reversed it in key areas of the fight. it is now possible to envision a process of transition to afghan responsibility for security based on conditions on the ground, with 2014 being a reachable target date. for that transition to be truly reversible and for it to lead to dr. anna marie during strategic partnership between the united states and begafghanistan, our country and especially this congress must remain committed to this fight and those americans waging it. thank you, mr. chairman.
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>> thank you very much, senator mcclain. secretary flournoy. >> thank you very much for inviting us here today to update you on our efforts in afghanistan. nearly ten years ago, al qaeda operatives carried out terrorist attacks that killed thousands of americans and citizens from other countries. as we all know, these attacks emanated from a safe haven in taliban-controlled afghanistan. in response to the september 11th attacks, the united states supported by vital international partners entered afghanistan by force in order to remove the taliban regime and prevent further attacks by al qaeda and its associates. our mission was just. it was fully supported by fully international community and initially was quite successful. in the years that followed, however, we lost focus on afghanistan. while our attention was turned away, al qaeda, the taliban and
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associated extremist groups reconstituted safe havens between afghanistan and pakistan. as a result of this inattention, we risked the return of a taliban-led afghanistan that would likely once again provide a safe haven for terrorists who could plan and execute attacks against the united states. when president obama took office, he immediately undertook a thorough review of our strategy in afghanistan and pakistan, and reaffirmed our core goal, to disrupt, dismantle, and eventually defeat al qaeda to prevent its return to afghanistan. in the course of that review, we found that the situation in afghanistan was even worse than we had thought, and that the taliban had seized the momentum on the ground. in response, over the course of 2009, 2010, the president committed tens of thousands of additional u.s. forces to reverse that momentum. last december, we conducted a
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follow on review of the strategy's's implementation. we reaffirmed the core goal and the strategy's key elements. a military campaign to degrade the taliban-led insurgency, a civilian campaign, and increased effort designed to bring favorable and durable outcome to the conflict. over the last year, we have made significant progress. with the troop surge, the u.s. and our isaf partners have over 150,000 troops in afghanistan, putting relentless pressure on the insurgents, and securing more and more of the afghan population. that surge has been matched by a surge in numbers, quality, and capability of the afghan national security forces or ansf. during the past year, ansf has increased by more than 70,000
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personnel and we have been able to improve their quality by developing afghan noncommission officers and trainers, expanding the training curriculum, adding literacy programs, increasing retention rates, and partnering afghan units with isaf forces in the field. as general petraeus will describe in detail, u.s. and ifas forces fighting side by side with increasingly capable afghan units through the country have rescued the initiative from the insurgents, even in kandahar province. we turned up the pressure on al qaeda and affiliates in the border regions of afghanistan, significantly degrading, though not yet defeating their plan to conduct operations. one contributor to the positive momentum is the afghan local police initiative. a village focused security program that is already
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significantly disrupted insurgent activity, denied insurgent influence in key areas and generated serious concern among the taliban leadership. at the same time, we have ramped up civilian efforts to improve afghan governance and development. thanks to the civilian surge, there are more than 1100 civilian experts from nine different u.s. agencies helping to build afghan governance and economic capacity, work that is absolutely vital to the ultimate success of our overall mission in afghanistan. nevertheless, the significant gains we have made in the last year are still reversible. there is tough fighting ahead, and major challenges remain. most notably, we must continue our efforts with pakistan to eliminate terrorist and insurgent safe havens. we seek to build an effective partnership that advances both u.s. and pakistani interests, including the denial of safe haven to all violent extremist
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organizations. to do so, we must demonstrate to our pakistani partners that we will remain a strong supporter of their security and prosperity, both now and in the years to come, even as we ask them to do even more to defeat terrorism. in addition, we must work with the afghan government to tackle corruption, especially predatory corruption that erodes public trust and fuels the insurgency, and we must help create conditions necessary to enable political settlement among the afghan people. this includes reconciling those insurgents that are willing to renounce al qaeda, forsake violence an ad here to the afghan constitution. this july, we will begin a responsible conditions based draw down of our surge forces in afghanistan. we will also begin the process of transitioning provinces to afghan leads for security. and by the end of 2014, we
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expect that after gans will be in the lead for security nationwide. this transition is a process, not an event. the process will unfold village by village, district by district, province by province. the determination of when the transition will occur and where it will occur is going to be based on bottom of assessments of local conditions. this process is beginning now, and we expect president karzai to announce the first round of districts and provinces for transition on march 21st. as this transition process gets under way, and as afghan national security force capabilities continue to develop, we are and our isaf partners will send out forces as conditions allow, and gradually shift to more and more of a mentoring role with ansf. some of the forces moved out of a given area will be reinvested in other geographic areas, or in the training efforts in order to
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further advance the transition process. the objective here is to ensure that the transition is irreversible. we have no intention of declaring premature transitions only to have to come back and finish the job later. we would much rather stick to a gradual approach, making sure that an area is truly ready for transition before sending out the isaf forces there. this is the surest path to lasting success. but let me be clear, the transition that will take place between now and december, 2014, in no way signals our abandonment of afghanistan. president obama and president karzai have agreed that the united states and afghanistan will have an enduring partnership beyond 2014, and we are currently working with them on the details of that partnership. finally, i would like to acknowledge the very real costs of this war. many of you have expressed concern about these costs,
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especially in light of our battle field casualties and our fiscal pressures here at home. but the afghan, pakistan border lands have served as a crews bell for the most catastrophic terrorist actions of the past decades. the outcome we seek is the defeat of al qaeda and denial of the region as a sanctuary for terrorists. this objective is the reason why our brave men and women in service have sacrificed so very much. we are determined to bring this war to a successful conclusion, for the sake of our own security, but also for the sake of the security of the people of afghanistan, pakistan and the region who have suffered so much, and have so much to gain from a secure and lasting peace. members of this committee, i want to thank you for providing us with this opportunity today. i also look forward to your continued and invaluable support for the policies and programs
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that are critical to our success in afghanistan and in pakistan. thank you very much. >> thank you very much, secretary flournoy. general petraeus. >> mr. chairman, senator mccain, it is a privilege to be here with undersecretary flournoy to report on the situation in afghanistan. before i proceed, however, i would like to offer my sincere con doleances to the people of japan, as they work to recover from one of the worst natural disasters in their history. for many years now, japan has been a stall wart partner in afghanistan, an important contributor to the mission there. now our thoughts and our prayers are with our long-time allies and with all those in japan effected by the earthquake and tsunami. >> i can say i believe every person on the committee and every american as well. thank you for doing that. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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>> as a bottom line up front, it is isaf's assessment that the momentum achieved by the taliban since 2005 has been arrested inch of the country and reversed in a number of important areas. however, while the security progress achieved over the past year is significant, it is also tragedy i will and reversible. moreover, it is clear that much difficult work lies ahead with our afghan partners to solidify and expand our gains in the face of the expected taliban spring offensive. nonetheless, the hard fought achievements in 2010 and early 2011 have enabled the joint afghan nato transition board to recommend initiation this spring of transition to afghan lead in several provinces. the achievements of the past year are also very important as i prepare to provide options and a recommendation to president
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obama for commencement of the draw down of the u.s. surge forces in july. of note as well, the progress achieved has put us on the right as smith to accomplish the objective agreed upon atlas summer's list bin summit. the achievements of 2010 and early 2011 have been enabled by a determined effort to get the inputs right in afghanistan. with strong support of the united states and the 47 other troop-contributing countries, isaf has focused enormous attention and resources in the past two years on building the organization's needed to conduct a comprehensive, civil military counter insurgency campaign. on developing in close coordination with afghan partners the recognize wis it
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concepts and plans and developing the forces and funding needed. indeed, more than 87,000 additional nato isaf troopers and 1,000 additional civilians have been added to the effort in afghanistan since the beginning of 2009. in afghanistan, security forces have grown by over 122,000 in that time as well. getting the inputs right has enabled our forces, together with afghan forces, to conduct the comprehensive campaign necessary to achieve our goals in afghanistan. our core objective is, of course, ensuring that afghanistan does not once again become a sanctuary for al qaeda. achieving that objective requires that we help afghanistan develop sufficient capabilities to secure and govern itself. and that effort requires execution of the comprehensive civil, military effort on which we are now embarked.
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over the past year in particular, isaf elements together with international partners have increased all the activities of our come prehence i have campaign substantially. we have, for example, stepped up the temple of precise, intelligence driven operations to capture or kill insurgent leaders. in a typical 90 day period, precision operations by special units and afghan partners alone kill or capture some 360 targeted insurgent leaders. moreover, they are coordinated with the senior afghan ministries, and virtually all include highly trained afghan soldiers or police with some afghan elements now in the lead on these operations. we have also expanded considerably joint isaf afghan operations to clear the taliban
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from important long held safe havens, and then to hold and build in them. isaf and afghan troopers have, for example, cleared such critical areas as the districts west of kandahar city that were the birthplace of the taliban movement, as well as important districts of helmand province, areas of the security bubble and locations in the north where the taliban increased presence in recent years. one result of such operations has been a four-fold increase in recent months in the number of weapons and explosive cashes turned in and found. another the gradual development of local governance in local revival of the growing security bubbles. marge a, one time hub of the drug industry held election for community council march 1st, during which 75% of registered voters cast a ballot.
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and as a result of improvements in the security situation there, markets that once sold weapons, explosives, illegal narcotics, feature over 1500 shops selling food, clothes, and household goods. we have positioned more forces as well to in ter dikt the flow of fighters and explosives from insurgent places in pakistan, and we will do further work with afghan partners to establish as much of a defense in depth as is possible to disrupt in filtration of taliban and hakani members. meanwhile, we are coordinating more closely than ever with the pakistani army to conduct isaf operations that will provide the anvil on the afghan side of the line in which pakistani taliban elements can be driven in the border areas. with your support, we have also devoted substantial additional
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resources to development of afghan security forces. this effort is, of course, another very important component of our comprehensive approach. it is arguably the most critical element in our effort to help afghan develop the capability to secure itself. we have seen significant progress in this arena in the past year, and we have had to contend with innumerable challenges. our afghan partners are the first to note that the quality of some elements is still uneven. the training mission is, in fact, a huge undertaking, and there is nothing easy about it. however, the past year alone has seen afghan forces grow by over one-third, adding some 70,000 soldiers and police. notably, those forces have grown in quality, not just in quantity. investments in leader development, literacy, marks manship and institutions have yielded significant dividends. in the hard fighting west of
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kandahar in late 2010, afghan forces comprised some 60% of the overall force, and they fought with skill and courage. president karzai's afghan local police initiative has been also important to the overall campaign. it is in essence a community watch with ak-47s, under the local district chief of police, with nominees represented by a council, vented by in tell service and trained by and partners with afghan police and u.s. special forces elements. the initiative does more than just allow the arming of local forces and conduct of limited defensive missions. through the way each unit is established, this program mobilizes communities in self defense against those who would undermine security in their areas. for that reason, the growth of these elements is of particular concern to the taliban, whose ability to intimidate the
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population is limited considerably by it. there are currently 70 districts identified for alp elements with each district's authorization averaging some 300 alp members. 27 of the district alp elements have been validated for full operations, while the other 43 are in various stages of being established. this program has emerged as so important that i have put a conventional u.s. infantry battalion under operational control of our special operations command in afghanistan to augment our special forces and increase our ability to support the program's expansion. we have increased as well our efforts to enable the afghan government's work, and that of international community civilians to improve governance, economic development and provision of basic services. these are essential elements of the effort to shift delivery of basic services from provincial
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reconstruction teams and international organizations to afghan governmental elements, thereby addressing president karzai's understandable concerns about parallel institutions, and we have provided assistance for new afghan government-led initiatives and reintegration, supporting recently established afghan high peace council and provincial peace and reintegration councils. we recognize that we and our afghan partners cannot just kill or capture our way out of the insurgency in afghanistan. in fact, some 700 former taliban have now officially reintegrated with afghan authorities in recent months, and some 2,000 more are in various stages of reintegration process. all of these efforts are part of our economy hence i've proech,
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and we worked hard to coordinate with international organizations and diplomatic missions in afghanistan as well as with our afghan partners. we have also sought to ensure that we minimize loss of innocent civilian life in the course of our operations, even as we also ensure protection of our forces in our afghan partners. of note, a recently released un study observed civilian casualties decreased by over 20% in 2010, even as our total forces increased by over 100,000, and significant offensive operations were launched. our progress in this area notwithstanding, however, in view of several tragic incidents in recent weeks, i ordered review of our tactical direct i have on use of force by all levels of chain of command and with air crews of attack helicopters. i also reemphasized instructions
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on reducing damage to infrastructure and property to an absolute minimum. counter insurgents cannot succeed if they harm the people they are striving to protect. as i noted at the outset, the joint nato afghan inched oh call or transition board represented to karzai's commencement of transition in select provinces in the next few months. president karzai will announce these locations in a speech next week. in keeping with the principles adopted by the north atlantic council to guide transition, the shifting of responsibility from isaf to afghan forces will be conducted as a pace determined by conditions on the ground, with assessments provided from the bottom up so that those at operational command level in afghanistan can plan the resulting battlefield geometry adjustments with our afghan
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partners. according to nato principles, we will see the forces thinning out, not just handing off, with reinvestment of some of the forces freed up by transition in contiguous areas or in training missions where more work is needed. similar processes are also taking place as we commence transition of certain training and institutional functions from isaf trainers to their afghan counterparts. as we embark on the process of transition, we should keep in mind the imperative of ensuring the transition actions we take will be irreversible. as ambassadors of several isaf countries emphasized at one recent nato meeting, we'll get one shot at transition, and we need to get it right. as a number of isaf national leaders have noted in recent months, especially since lisben, we need to focus not just on the year ahead, but increasingly on the goal agreed at lisben of
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having afghan forces in the lead in afghanistan by end of 2014. indeed, we need to ensure we take a sufficiently long view to ensure our actions in the months ahead enable long-term achievement in the years ahead. we have refined our campaign plan to do just that. and we are also now beginning to look beyond 2014 as undersecretary flournoy noted, as the united states in afghanistan and nato discuss strategic partnerships. all of this is enormously reassuring to our afghan partners and of considerable concern to the taliban. with respect to the taliban, appreciation that there will be an enduring commitment of some form by the international community to afghanistan is important to the insurgents's recognition that reconciliation, rather than continued fighting, should be their goal.
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before concluding, there are four additional issues i would like to highlight to the committee. first, i am concerned that levels of funding for our state department and usaid partners will not sufficiently enable them to build on the hard-fought security achievements of our men and women in uniform. inadequate resourcing of our civilian partners could, in fact, jeopardize accomplishment of the overall mission. i offer that assessment, noting that we have just completed a joint civil military campaign plan between u.s. forces in afghanistan and the u.s. embassy in kabul, which emphasizes the critical integration of civilian and military efforts in endeavors such as that in afghanistan. second, i want to express my deep appreciation for your support of vital capabilities for our troopers. the funding you have provided has, for example, enabled the rapid deployment of a
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substantial increase in the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets supporting our forces. to take one example, we have increased the number of various types of persistent surveillance systems, towers with optics, from 114 this past august to 184 at the present, with plans for continued increases throughout this year. your support has also enabled rapid procurement and deployment of the all terrain vehicle version of the mine resistant ambush protected family of vehicles, with 6700 fielded since i took command some eight and a half months ago. and your support has continued to provide our commanders with another critical element of our strategy, the commander's emergency response program funding that has once again proven absolutely invaluable as a way of capitalizing rapidly on hard-won gains on the ground.
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indeed, funding the establishment of the afghan infrastructure fund and the specific authorization for the reintegration program have been instrumental in enabling key components of our overall effort. third, i should at this point also highlight critical work of the world bank and the asian development bank. these institutions are the largest donors to afghanistan after the united states, and they have been critical to the success of important projects such as the ring road and use beck afghan railroad. we need these institutions and further u.s. support for them will ensure they are able to continue to contribute as significantly as they have in the past. fourth, i want to thank you for substantial funding for the development of the afghan national security forces. the continued growth of afghan
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forces in quantity, quality and capability is needless to say essential to the process of transition of security tasks from isaf forces to afghan forces, and the resources you have provided for this component of our effort have been the critical enabler of it. in closing, the past eight months have seemed important, but hard fought progress in afghanistan. key insurgent safe havens have been taken from the taliban. numerous insurgent leaders killed or captured, and hundreds of reconcilable mid level leaders and fighters have been reintegrated into afghan society. meanwhile, afghan forces have grown in number and capability. local security solutions have been instituted and security improvements in key areas like kabul, kandahar, helmand provinces enabled progress in the areas of governance and development. none of this has been easy. the progress achieved has
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entailed hard fighting and considerable sacrifice. there have been tough losses along the way, and there have been set backs as well as successes. indeed, the experience has been akin to that of a roller coaster ride. the trajectory has generally been upwards since last summer, but there certainly have been significant bumps and difficult reverses at various points. nonetheless, although the insurgents are already striving to regain lost momentum and lost safe havens as we enter the spring fighting season, we believe that we will be able to build on the momentum achieved in 2010, though that clearly will entail additional tough fighting. as many of you have noted in the past, our objectives in afghanistan and in the region are of vital importance, and we must do all we can to achieve those objectives.
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those of us on the ground believe that the strategy on which we are now embarked provides the best approach for doing just that, noting as dialogue with president karzai has reminded us at various junctures that we must constantly refine our activities in response to changes in the circumstances on the ground. needless to say, we will continue to make such adjustments in close consultation with afghan and international counterparts as the situation evolves. finally, i want to thank each of you for your continued support for our country's men and women in afghanistan and their families. as i have noted to you before, nothing means more to them than knowing that what they are doing is important and knowing that their sacrifices are appreciated by their leaders and their fellow citizens back home. each of you has sought to convey that sense to them and we are very grateful to you for doing
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so. thank you very much. >> thank you very much, general, thank you both for your testimony please leave if you're going to make any comments in public like that. just please leave. general, let me start by asking you about the july, 2011 date which you have made reference to in your statement as a date about which you recommend to president obama commencement of the draw down of some of our forces. have you decided on the level of reductions that you're going to be recommending yet? >> i have not, mr. chairman. >> do you continue to support the beginning of reductions of u.s. forces from afghanistan in july? >> i do, mr. chairman, and i will provide options to the
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chain of command and the president to do that. >> and why do you support the beginning of reductions this july? >> if i could come back perhaps to your opening statement, mr. chairman, i think it is logical to talk both about getting the job done as secretary gates did with his nato counterparts and beginning transition and responsible to use president obama's term reductions in forces at a pace determined by conditions on the ground. as my good friend and ship mate, general jim mad us noted, it undercuts the narrative of the taliban that we will be there forever, that we are determined to maintain a presence forever, and it does, indeed, as i have told this committee before send that message of urgency that president obama sought to transmit on the first of december at west point in 2009
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when he also transmitted a message of enormous additional commitment in the form of 30,000 additional u.s. forces, more funding for afghan forces and additional civilians. >> thank you. now, relative to the pending request to increase the size of afghan security forces by up to an additional 70,000 personnel, i believe you have made that request, is that correct? >> i have, mr. chairman, and my understanding is that the secretary has forwarded that. this was made in consultation with ministers of interior and defense in afghanistan who also gained president karzai's support for it. keeping in mind that it reasonable degree of medical certainty a floor of 352,000, and then if there are certain reforms carried through, which are already very much entrained by ministry counterparts in afghanistan in terms of additional commitment to leader development, recruiting,
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retention, and attrition issues, that the growth would be to 378 total. >> is that a floor of 352, that is approximately 45,000 more than the goal for october, 2011 as i understand it. >> that's correct, mr. chairman, and the afghan forces are on track it appears to reach that goal probably even early as is the case this past year. >> secretary flournoy, are you recommending that increase? >> the secretary has forwarded the increase over to the white house for the president's consideration. we do expect a decision on that soon. >> are you able to say that you support it or the secretary supports? >> yes, i think the secretary does support the range that general petraeus suggested between 352 and 378. >> you both -- thank you. you both made reference to pakistan and the safe havens which exist there with the
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pakistan government basically looking the other way in two key areas, that's north i'm sorry ear stan and down in kwet a where they know where the people are who are crossing the border, and terrorizing afghan citizens, attacking us, attacking afghan forces, coalition forces. now, pakistan may be looking the other way in that regard, but i don't think we can look the other way about what they are not doing in those areas. so i would ask you both what, if anything, more can we do to persuade the pakistanis to be the hammer which i think you made indirect reference to, general petraeus, so when those forces cross the border, we can be the anvil? >> mr. chairman, first, if i could, i think it is always important to note what pakistan has done over the course of the last two years, and that is very
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impressive and very challenging counter insurgents operation toss clear swat valley and a number of agencies in the tribal areas of rugged border regions. and then to note the enormous sacrifices they have made, their military as well as their civilian populous, which has also suffered terrible losses at the hands of internal extremists. there is indeed as a result of a number of recent visits and coordination efforts in recent months, unprecedented cooperation, coordination between pakistani, afghan and isaf forces to coordinate in operations that will complement the other's forces on the border, say for example where the pakistanis go the border and we are poised indeed to be the
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andville on which they are driven. the fact is that the pakistanis are the first to note more needs to be done. there is, i think, a growing recognition that you cannot allow poisonous snakes to have a nest in your backyard, even if they just bite the neighbor's kids because sooner or later they're going to turn around and cause problems in your backyard, and i think that sadly has proven to be the case. having said that, there is, of course, considerable pressure on al qaeda and on the hakani network in north wi seer stan. the campaign there disrupted significantly the activities of those groups, and then of course on the afghan side of the border, there has as i noted in my opening statement been an enormous effort to establish a defense in depth to make it difficult for in filtration. again, we conducted a great deal of coordination with afghan partners and ultimately as
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senator mccain noted that the way to influence pakistan is to show that there can be a certain outcome in afghanistan that means that there should be every effort to help their afghan neighbors and indeed to ensure that they do that on their side of the border as well. >> mr. chairman, if i could just add from a strategic level, i think what's needed is continued investment in the strategic partnership that we've been developing with pakistan, and very candid engagement with them on these issues to influence their will to go after the full range of groups that threaten both of us. it means continued efforts to build their capacity, things like the pakistani counter insurgency fund, but not only efforts to build their military capacity but also their capacity for governance and development in areas like the fatah and
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other parts of afghanistan to meet basic needs of their people. we can't walk away from this problem, and we believe a strategy of engagement, investing in the partnership is the best way forward. >> well, i think that's all well and good, but it is actually factually true, i am afraid that simply investing in their capacity is not what we need at the moment in north wi seer stan and in kwet a with the taliban. those folks using those areas are attacking our people, and the pakistanis basically resisted going after them in those areas. they have done that for their own internal reasons, and on the other hand, we've got to continue to find ways to impress upon them that their backyard is a backyard where snakes are permitted to continue to exist and those snakes are crossing the border. you say simply increase their capacity, i am not willing to
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simply increase their capacity without some kind of an understanding that that capacity is going to be used to end these safe havens which are deadly to our people. so i'll simply say that. if you want to comment you can. i should have announced we have a seven minute round, i probably used mine already. in any event, i will end my round there, unless you want to add a comment. >> if i could just add, we are having extremely candid conversations about our expectations of what we would like to see our pakistani partners do in areas like north wi seer stan and elsewhere. we are continuing to apply as much pressure as we can from the afghan side of the border and also in terms of pressure on al qaeda senior leadership in the border region. >> senator mccain. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i thank the witnesses again.
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general petraeus, i have been a member of this committee for a long time, and i've sat through hundreds of hearings and one that stands out in my memory was in september of 2007 when you and ambassador crocker came and testified when the majority of americans and the majority of members of the committee and majority of the senate wanted to have an immediate pullout from iraq, which obviously was -- and that the surge could not succeed and would fail, obviously that turned out not to be true, that the surge did succeed, and i have a bit of a feeling of déjà vu here because this morning, i am sure you may have seen "the washington post" indicates, the headline is on the front page, quote, most in u.s. say afghan war isn't worth fighting. nearly two-thirds of americans now say the war in afghanistan is no longer worth fighting.
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the highest proportion yet opposed to the conflict, according to a new washington post, abc news poll. could you respond to that poll and maybe have a few words for the american people about this conflict? >> well -- >> and you might mention the consequences of failure. >> thanks, senator. up front, i can understand the frustration. we have been at this for ten years. we have spent an enormous amount of money. we have sustained very tough losses and difficult life changing wounds. i was at walter reed yesterday, seeing some of our troopers whose lives have been changed forever by their service in our country's uniform in a tough fight. but i think it is important to remember why we are there at such a time.
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it is important to remember that that is where 9-11 began, that's where the plan was made. that's where the initial training of the attackers took place before they went to germany and u.s. flight schools. that is where al qaeda had its most important sanctuary in the world, and it had it under the taliban. at that time, of course, the taliban controlled kabul and the vast majority of the country. and indeed, we see al qaeda looking for sanctuaries all the time, frankly. they are as i mentioned earlier under considerable pressure in their north wi seer stan sanctuary, and there is a search for other locations. and afghanistan would be an attractive location were the taliban to control large swathes of it once again. indeed, there is a small presence of al qaeda in afghanistan, some probably less than 100.
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we killed the number three leader of al qaeda in afghanistan several months ago, and have detained another very important individual there as well. and we do see the exploration, if you will, of certain possible sanctuari sanctuaries. the other thing to remember is the one i made in my opening statement. that is it is only recently we have gotten inputs right in afghanistan. as undersecretary flournoy explained, there were a number of years where our focus was elsewhere, where afghanistan an economy of force effort to use the military terminology, and it is only since late 2008, early 2009 that we have focused back on afghanistan and have deployed the military, civilian and financial resources necessary,
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adjusted our campaign plans and concepts, staffed the organizations properly, and so forth, so that we could indeed say that we actually had the inputs right. we judged that that was roughly last fall. that is what has enabled us to make the progress that we have made. i do believe that we can build on that progress as difficult as that will be. and i believe it is imperative we do so, because again, i think this is as president obama has said a vital national security interest that again al qaeda not be allowed to reestablish sanctuaries in afghanistan. >> let me then ask you to respond to a los angeles times story this morning which says national intelligence director james clapper told congress last week, i think the issue the concern the intelligence community has is after that and the ability of the afghan government to pick up their responsibility for governance. tame general ronald burgess, head of defense intelligence agency offered a sobering view,
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one that is shared by the cia. uchlt officials say it contrasted sharply with the optimism expressed in recent days by petraeus. quote from general burgess. the taliban in the south has shown resilience, still influences much of the population, particularly outside urban areas. burgess said u.s. led coalition has been killing taliban militants by the hundreds he said, but there have been no apparent delegate rad agency in their capacity to fight. would you respond to general clap errand general burgess's statements? >> first of all, with respect, i have tried to avoid what might be labeled optimism or pessimism and have tried to provide realism. and i think that the opening statement speaks for itself in terms of expressing what we believe is reality on the ground, with a very significant note of the challenges that lie
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ahead. there is no question that governmental capacity is an area of in a sense strategic risk as we identify it. in the slides we provided along with the statement, you will see the so-called cloud slides, and i think there's a double thunder bolt coming out of that particular cloud. the reason is that indeed it is very difficult to transition tasks that are currently performed by international organizations or isaf provincial reconstruction teams to afghan institutions if that capacity is not present. i had a long conversation with minister of finance in kabul, and then president karzai the day before leaving and discussed the imperative of increased efforts to expand this governmental capacity, particularly in the arena of budget execution. now, that may sound like an odd item for a military commander to
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be engaged in, but with our civilian partners, we absolutely have to help afghan partners increase their ability to spend the money they're provided, to speed the very bureaucratic processes they have instituted to enable them to take money that's provided in through the top and gets down to the province and district to replace again service provision by international organizations and provincial reconstruction teams. they are seized with that. they realize that the trend that is currently in afghanistan has to be changed and that indeed budget execution has to increase substantially again to enable president karzai's goal of doing away with parallel institutions to be achieved. >> could i finally ask very briefly, do you see increasing evidence, evidence of increasing iranian involvement in
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afghanistan? >> we did in ter dikt as you saw i think press reports, senator mccain, a shipment from the force through a known taliban facilitator. this was in ter dick ted, three of the individuals were killed. 48 122 millimeter rockets were intercepted with various components. this is a significant increase in more than double in range over the 107 millimeter rockets we have typically seen, more than double in terms of bursting radius. >> do you see other evidence of iranian involvement? >> we do see certainly iranian activity to use both soft power in the way they shut off the fuel going into afghanistan a couple of months ago and also certainly to influence the political process there as well in ways similar to what we saw in iraq. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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>> thank you, senator mccain. senator lieberman. >> thanks, mr. chairman, thanks secretary flournoy and general petraeus for your service and testimony. general petraeus i don't think we can thank you enough for this service and leadership you've given our country, particularly in this case you had gone from remarkable leadership in iraq, helping with a lot of help from state department and our troops turning that situation around, then the central command. suddenly with general mcchrystal's departure from afghanistan, you are called to the oval office. the president asks you to go to afghanistan. you could have found a lot of reasons not to. you just didn't hesitate. you said yes, sir, and you've been there with a lot of support from the administration and others, and we're turning it around now in afghanistan, without any illusions about the difficulties we face. i just think the country owes you a tremendous expression of
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gratitude. you set by your example the standard for everyone who serves under you in afghanistan and frankly for any of us who have the privilege of serving our country in whatever capacity, and i thank you for that. the public opinion polls are on our minds today. i think we all know from experience you can't make decisions about war and peace based on public opinion. once you commit to a cause as we did after 9-11 to the cause of a different and new afghanistan and you commit troops to it, you can't be effected by waves of public opinion. we know from recent history, when wars are succeeding, when wars are failing, seem to be failing, public opinion is negative. when wars seem to be succeeding,
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public opinion turns more positive. in this case, we are succeeding in afghanistan today and therefore i think the downward turn in the public opinion here in the united states has more to do with the understandable preoccupation of the american people with the economy, with jobs, with the deficit. in that sense, i think we have to come back and remind the american people of why we are in afghanistan, why it is worth it, and that we are now succeeding. and i think secretary flournoy and general petraeus you have done that most effectively in your testimony. secretary flournoy, i want to quote from you. you said just right to the point, the threat to our national security, and the security of our friends and allies that emanates from the border land of afghanistan and pakistan is not hypothetical. there is simply no other place in the world that contains-a-a-a
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commanders. this remote region has served as a crews bell for the most catastrophic terrorist actions of the past decade as we learned at great cost after abandoning the region in 1989, staying engaged over the long term is critical to achieving lasting peace and stability in this region and securing our national interests. end of quote. i don't think we can say it better and have to keep saying it about why we're there. second, general petraeus, i think your presentation today tells us, again, nobody is under any illusions that this is turning around. i can tell you that i've been going to afghanistan since january, february of 2002, after our initial victory there, overthrowing t >> i've been going to twice a
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year and so for a period of years just to validate what you've said about us turning our attention away, every time we went, if we looked at the map every year, the taliban was in control of more of the territory of afghanistan until the last year, until 2010. and i don't think this is an accident because as you've both said, in some sense we've only fully engaged in afghanistan for the last year. president obama made the discussion on commit the surge troops and since the president has been our commander in chief, we have increased our troop presence not just 30,000 but 87,000 when one considers the previous commitment made. so we're there for a reason. we're making progress. i can't thank you both enough for all of that. i want to just get through a
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couple of questions briefly. we've talked about the safe havens in pakistan but what strikes me really significant and underappreciated. as of two years ago there were large taliban safe havens inside pakistan such as marjah and what's happened over the past two years is that our coalition has taken those safe havens away and shut them down. could you comment, general. >> well, indeed that has been one of our most important objectives and instead one of troopers most important accomplishments. these were significant safe havens in the case of kandahar city. again, the well well spring of the taliban movement and right on the doorstep of the second largest city in afghanistan.
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indeed, there was a period in early 2009 i remember the intelligence telling me they thought kabul was the way it was like in the civil war. these are very important accomplishments. in the increase of afghan security forces and the advent of the afghan local police program, now also enable us to prevent other safe havens in much less populated areas from springing up as well and that is certainly one of our objectives. >> i appreciate that answer. let me go to another matter that you both talked about. we're on a path now to transition control of security to the afghan security forces by the end of 2014. but both of you have testified today about the importance of the signaling and enduring commitment to the security of
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afghanistan. and i couldn't agree more. i wonder if both of you would describe -- i know there's some discussions going on now seriously between the u.s. and the afghan government. what kinds of long-term commitment you might contemplate and i wondered if you'd comment on the possibility of some continuing base presence, perhaps a jointly operated system of bases in afghanistan, between us and the afghans? >> senator, thank you. the -- when the president first announced the strategy at west point, he was very clear that we were making an enduring long-term commitment to afghanistan and the region. having made the mistake historically of walking away and then paid a very dear price for that. so that's been clear from the very beginning. it's an important message to emphasize as we begin this
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transition process. we just had a team in kabul this week starting to discuss the outlines of a strategic partnership with our afghan partners, being clear about the kinds -- our expectations of that partnership and the kinds of commitments we would be willing to make. the president has also been very clear that we do not seek any permanent bases in afghanistan that we don't seek to have a presence that any other country in the region could see as a threat. that said we are committed to the success of the afghans, to continuing to build their capacity and so we do envision, if the afghan invite us to stay, the use of joint facilities to continue training, advisorying, assisting the afghan security forces, conducting joint terrorism operations and so forth. and so we are in the process of discussing what kind of
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parameters should outline that partnership. i should also add it goes far beyond the military to me to look at how we can support further development of governance, economic development, and so forth. >> general, do you want to add anything to that? >> well, again, i think it's very important to stay engaged in a region in which we have such vital interests. and i think the concept of joint basing, the concept of providing is in stablers for afghanistan operations and so forth, frankly, similar to what we have done in iraq since the mission changed there would also be appropriate in afghanistan again depending on how the circumstances revolved noting that we've got nearly four years to go until that time. >> i thank you both. i think the important points you made obviously we will only stay in afghanistan after 2014 to the extent we're invited to do so by
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the afghan government and we determine -- we're able and want to do so but i think, general, you point out very correctly that we have -- that we would do this not just for the afghans but we also have security interests in the stability of afghanistan and the region more generally. i thank you both. >> thank you, senator lieberman. senator inhofe. >> first of all, let me identify with the marks of senator lieberman about your service, general petraeus. and i might also add in the 17 years i don't recall a better opening statement. i appreciate that very much. one thing that haven't been talked about briefly about what's happening right now with the budget, about the cr's, how that is affecting the military. >> thank you, senator.
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the fact is that the services will do everything on their power do enensure that everything on the front lines will do everything that is required and they will do that even as they start to inflict pain on themselves. we've been through this before. i remember this, i think, in one of the years when i was a commander in iraq. the services did some very serious belt tightening. but they continued to provide the support to us out there. now, there does comes a point at this point some of that point has to be passed on. but in the june time frame probably with the afghan security force funding that there would be start to be a limiting factor. and that obviously would cause us enormous concern because the
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last thing that we want to have to do is to halt our progress in an area that is so important to the ultimate transition of tasks. if i could add a comment on that while we're on this topic, senator, and that does have to do with the growth of the afghan national security forces. again, making very clear my job, of course, is to state requirements. i'm a battlefield commander and every level above me has a broader purview and broader considerations. and, of course, the challenge with the growth of the afghan national security forces, the concern is the issue of sustainability. so while it's clearly desirable from the perspective of the ministry of interior and defense and isaf and afghan leaders, there is an understandable concern about the sustainability of that over time and you all had quite a bit of dialog with secretary gates on that. and i think that's the discussion that is taking place here in washington with respect
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to that growth decision. >> i appreciate that very much. in general i do want to -- i noticed you made a request for an additional $150 million in the cerp program. and that's been one of my favorite programs. you've spoken very favorably about it. i noticed, though, when the special inspector general for iraq reconstruction -- they had a report where they're somewhat critical of it. and i would like to have your response to that. >> well, again, there were in some areas grounds to be critical about it. we've taken quite considerable steps to improve our oversight of this and a number of other programs, frankly. we have increased significantly personnel who are in the business of tracking our contracting, overseeing the implementation of the various construction efforts and so on and also monitoring cerp. i reissued the cerp letter, for example. it clarified it and established new procedures.
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we've done more training of the cerp individuals. we have indeed structured the program so that now the average of these is entirely what i think the committee's intent was all along and that is they're roughly $17 million on average this particular year. we have already done more projects this year than we did in last fiscal year because, of course, because of the increase of our troopers that are on the ground deployed and they have gains that they want to solidify and build on with the help of this program so that additional 150 million that we requested over the 400 million in regular cerp is very important to us and that would be something that would cause a significant halt in some of the programs that we seek to capitalize on the very hard-fought and costly gains of our troopers on the ground. >> we have made -- we talked about this back during the iraqi -- we went through the same thing. you know, i look at this that perhaps there aren't the same
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safeguards in there but there's so much that can come by those immediate decisions to carry them through and those figures still stand. let me just mention on a much larger scale we talk about train and equip. our figures have gone up from fiscal '10 to '12, 9, 11.8 and $12.8 billion. both of you have been very complimentary about the training and the changes that have been taking place with the afghans. i was over there and spent new year's eve with the kids there and took a long time out at the kabul military training center. i was really in shock of the attitude -- well, first of all, being new year's eve just the attitude of the kids. their spirits are high. they know what their mission is and they're excited about it and they're dedicated. in terms of watching the military train, it isn't all
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that different from the training that takes place here. we have done a great job over there. and i think that you make some comments about the successes that we've had in the training of the afghans. >> this is another area, senator, once again it is only recently that we got the inputs right. key input in this regard was lieutenant bill caldwell former commander of 82nd airplane out at leavenworth has taken this command and has guided this effort impressively. the fact is we have increased very substantially in every single area of the so-called train and equip mission. the funding indeed has gone up because we're in the stages of building the infrastructure of the forces, piling the equipment for them. and we do have a substantial number of trainers and we're
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starting to bring them down as we replace them with isaf trainers and increasingly afghan trainers because we have an afghan train the trainer program among all the other efforts. one of the most significant steps forward in this regard is in the literacy arena. and we have actually already had some 50 to 60,000 afghans go through literacy training and we have even more than that number in literacy training now. now, you may say that's a strange pursuit for a train and equip mission. the fact is one of the major challenges in afghanistan is human capacity because of the more than 80% illiteracy rate. and if a soldier can't read a serial number off a weapon, a policeman can't read a license plate on a car, needless to say that's mission limiting. and we bit the bullet and decided as part of the basic training for the army and for the police that we would introduce basic literacy training along with it, without having to extend the courses.
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a night program. interestingly the afghans have really taken to this not surprisingly many of them were quietly ashamed of not being able to read and write. they now get themselves to a first grade level. it's a functional level and then we build on that in the subsequent noncommissioned officer training courses for the soldiers and police as well. this is a huge investment in afghanistan at large and a major effort in the afghan security forces. but the same is true of a number of different areas. there are now 11 branch schools. the institutional side of this is building. the leader development side is beginning to take off. and we're starting now to build the so-called enabler forces. for a long time we were basically training and equipping infantry battalions but, of course, the force in infantry training is only good as the intelligence support the transportation the maintenance
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and all these other again enablers and so that has been a key area of focus in the past year. >> and that's going great but my time has expired but i would only say we were only able to randomly talk -- select some people out, afghans and get their take on that. and i understand the literacy issue, the training is going well there. thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> senator reed is next and after his round, we will then have a break of perhaps five minutes after senator reed is finished. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. madam secretary, general petraeus thank you very much not only for your appearance today but your extraordinary service for the nation. thank you very much. general petraeus, we are contemplating a serious issue in terms of the budget. many have suggested we have to
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move forward regardless of other aspects. but integrated within your plans is a strong does he want presence in afghanistan. and the extent requests for oco funding $2.2 billion of civilian personnel, economic activities, aid work, et cetera. how essential and critical is this funding to your overall of your strategy and the ultimate success of afghanistan. >> it is critical and central to what we do. this is a comprehensive civil military counterinsurgency campaign. it is not a military-only campaign. and as i mode in my opening statement we've recently revamped the u.s. civil military campaign plan and essential to that is the ability of state a.i.d. and other implementing partners to capitalize on the hard fought gains of our troopers on the ground and those
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of our afghan partners in joint operations. again, it's not enough just to clear and hold. you do have to build and the build includes local governance, local economic revival, if you will, improvements in basic services and so forth so that the afghan people see there's a better future by supporting the afghan government, the legitimate government. and it has to be seen as legitimate rather than a return to the repressive days of the taliban. and there are various areas in which the taliban can actually compete, conflict resolution is one of them by the way. so again if the afghan government can't or doesn't provide those basic services, then there will be a reversion of the taliban, however little the people have regard for them. and they remember what it was like from the brutal ruling of the taliban. and this is is he central to what we're trying to do. >> thank you very much.
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i'd ask both of you to comment -- we hear various comments emanating from kabul, the civilian leadership of the afghan government from our nato allies about the strategy, the long-term commitments, et cetera, but what struck me along with senator levin and i'll speak for myself is that the local level there seems to be much more traction with respect to local afghani leadership and also there seems to be continuous improvement in the afghan security forces that gives a different perspective than listening to the pronouncements of the president or some of our allies and i wonder if both of you might comment on that. and i'll just -- to what extent is one overwhelmed by the other? to what extent one is a better sign of the reality on the
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ground than the other? general petraeus and then -- >> first of all, senator, local governance has indeed has been growing and developing as has again the development in other areas of basic service delivery. as i noted earlier there's no question and president karzai and his minister of finance are the first to recognize it at the national level budget execution does have to be improved and they are determined to do that and they have plans to do that so that more money can be pout budget rather than being injected through what president karzai understandably is concerned with this term of parallel institutions. certainly, some things are said at kabul at times for domestic political reasons. i know that never takes place in washington. but occasionally in kabul that does take place. and beyond that, though, i think secretary gates made a good point the other day, i think, before this committee.
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that sometimes we don't listen well enough to president karzai. you know, he was understandably concerned for years about private security contractors, which he sees as the ultimate parallel institution under the control in some cases of former warlords or members of what he and we by the way have agreed to call criminal patronage networks which he is very concerned about and we had a long conversation again just the day before we left with general h.r. mcmaster who is spearheading the efforts with afghan partners to focus the right attention on this very, very challenging element that can erode the very institutions to which we need to transition if again these are criminals. they're breaking the law. they have political protection in some respects and they're not just acting as individuals. they are part of networks. and president karzai sees these and he wants to deal with them. when he heard the evidence on his surgeon general, for
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example, he fired him on the spot in a subsequent -- previous briefing between an afghan partner and general mcmaster. he did the same with the afghan national military hospital, when he heard what they were doing and how derelict in their duty and, frankly, immoral in failing their moral obligation to their soldiers. so again i think at times we have to listen better. what he says is understandable about civilian casualties. we cannot harm the people that we are there to help protect. and we have to protect them from all civilian casualties, not just those at our hands or those of our afghan partners but those of the insurgents as well. so i think that's how you do have to look at this. and i do think periodically we've got to think about walking a kilometer in his shoes and understanding the dynamics in which he has to deal, the political foundation that he has to maintain because it is not -- although the executive has
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enormous power in that system, there are also significant checks and balances on it that may not be as apparent to individuals who haven't lived this the way some of us have there in kabul. >> madam secretary? >> senator, i would just add, you know, secretary gates has also said this is a case where the closer you are to what's happening on the ground in afghanistan, the more positive you are about the ultimate outcome. because when you go to -- at the district level, very small changes can have huge impact. if you combine some basic security with a decent district police chief, a decent district governor, a shura that is representative of the local population, you start to see the basis of transformation at the local level. and that is what we are seeing in many, many villages and districts across particularly the south.
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and, you know -- i would totally agree with general petraeus' comments about president karzai but i'd also expand to say, look, we work with many, many afghan partners. and many extremely competent ministers who are committed to fighting corruption, who are committed to afghanistan's success. i'll just site for you the new minister of interior. he has personally gone district by district. he's removed 66 corrupt police leaders. 2,000 officers, personally rooting out corruption where he finds it. holding leadership accountable. those -- each of those changes can have a profound effect on the population in that locality and so as we see our afghan partners stepping up to take on that accountability, the anticorruption, the transparency, we are seeing -- starting to get real traction at the local level.
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>> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator reed. we'll take a 5-minute break. [inaudible conversations]
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>> now you can listen to c-span signature programming with the latest books and authors on "after words." people in the news on newsmakers and interesting conversation on q & a. listen to a variety of public marys podcasts whenever you want. everything you need to know is online at c-span do agree/podcast. >> now a discussion on federal lobbying rules and regulations. the panel includes advocates for greater disclosure and stricter disclosing being lobbyists and it includes those speakers who say it's unnecessary and
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burdensome. hosted by the sunlight foundation, this is an hour and a half. [inaudible] >> this is an event put together by the advisory committee of transparency which was a project of the sunlight coalition and it's comprised of 18 individuals and organizations and you can find out more about the group on our website which is just a brief introduction to the advisory committee. our role is to share ideas with members of the congressional transparency caucus and members of congress generally and also to educate policy matters on transparency-related issues, problems, and solutions. i'd also like -- wonderful. i'd also like to thank the cochairs the congressional transparency caucus, representatives darrell issa and
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mike quigley for giving us the space and for working so kindly with us to host all the events this year. so this event will have a kind of interesting format. we're going to be broken into three parts. the first part will be introductions by each of our distinguished panelists. the second part will be just a couple of follow-up questions by me and then finally we'll go into q & a from the audience and our graduate fellow melanie who has a microphone so that c-span who will be able to hear your brilliant and informed questions as well as the folks up on the panel. i'm going to start by introducing the panelists and then we'll go to opening statements and we're going to start on my right with dan. so dan has covered lobbying campaign finance and other aspects of money in politics for the "washington post" since 2009. he was a white house reporter in 2008 and was the post lead justice department reporter for the first seven years of the bush administration. he was part of the team that won
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the pulitzer prize for coverage of the domestic response of the 9/11 attacks in 2002 and was part of the pulitzer finalist entry in 2006 for coverism of terrorism in national security issues. since i know pretty much everybody on this panel i have to disclose conflicts of interest. in this case i read his stuff all the time and i enjoy it very much. so i apologize for that conflict. [laughter] >> next up is sheila. she is the executive director of the senator for center of responsive politics which is a nonpartisan nonprofit research group that tracks money in u.s. politics. she became the executive director in 2006 having worked -- having served for the previous eight years as the center's research director and, of course, she first joined crp in 1989 and if i recall correctly and my notes apparently indicate this, she worked as an assistant editor for the very first edition of open secrets. conflicts here that we sit on a discussion group together and i also admire her work and sunlight, of course, helps fund open secrets which is the
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website that they run in terms of making the underlying data available to the public. so moving onto my left is lisa rosenberg. she's the sunlight foundation government affairs consultant and, of course, since i work at sunlight and she works at sunlight our desks are about 10 feet apart so there's probably a conflict as well. she's employed by bernstein group. and her job is to lobby congress to improve transparency in government. she served is an l.a. for john kerry and advising him on technology, consumer protection, campaign reform and judicial nominations and she also served as counsel for the senate government affairs committee special investigation into campaign finance irregularities. and moving on next we have paul miller who's the chairman and ceo of miller went hold capital strategies which is a lobbying firm although i don't have any personal conflicts with him i do work with his partner at the firm dave whom i know reasonably well. paul is also a past president of
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the american league of lobbyists and he's the current head and correct me if i get this wrong. he's the current head of american league of lobbyists working group on lobbying reform. and just a little background the american league of lobbyists was founded in 1979 and has around 1,000 members. and finally all the way to my left is tom sussman, the director of government affairs office for the american bar association. i served on the aba's lobbying task force with him for the last 14 months but i served as a nonvoting member so in an advisory capacity. tom is the coeditor of the lobbying manual which is a fantastic read although it's about this thick and he has worked as an adjunct professor at the american university washington college of law. at one point you were the chair of the ethics committee for the american league of lobbyists? i don't know if that -- [inaudible] >> [laughter] >> and prior to joining the aba
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tom was a partner at the washington office of ropes and gray llp for 24 hours. even prior to that if it's possible to believe and it isn't he served as chief counsel to the senate committee and office of counsel in the u.s. department of justice. i welcome all of our panelists and thank you for coming. let's start out with gab walking in front of us and dan who's going to make a short opening statement and, of course, i would like to remind all of our panelists when you start speaking just please hit the push buttons so the mics work and everybody can hear you. thanks. >> good afternoon. i guess my only conflict is i guess perhaps i made everybody at this table mad at one point or another, i don't know. not long after i started covering lobbying at the "washington post," i ran across a fascinating study. it focused on a generous tax break that was championed by multinational corporations who lobbied on the hill for it. it last just a year.
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cost the federal government about $100 billion. and so this was a perfect little test tube, i guess. there were a group of researchers who decided to find out how much companies had spent to lobby for the provision and they made a rather remarkable discovery i thought that for every dollar that the major -- that these major companies spent, about 800 companies spent in the relevant year they gained $220 from the tax break which i think is a return of something in the range of 22,000%. which is pretty good. that turned out to be the first and last time that i've ever been able to write a story that really came close to calculating the actual return on investment, though. and even then, obviously, it was very imperfect since most of the companies involved lobbied on many other things that same year, meaning they actually probably made more than 22,000% on that particular investment. the reason the story was so rare is pretty simple.
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we don't have the data. lobbyists disclose more information than ever but it's still frequently falls short of providing the clear view of who is lobbying who, how much they're spending and what they're getting in return. i'm just a reporter. i don't take sides on what the policies should be. many lobbyists will tell you the reporting requirements are already a huge burden and too easily gained by dishonest players at the expense of those who are playing by the rules but there's also a case to be made that more transparency may actually help the vast majority of lobbyists who are upstanding and honest by taking the mystery out of the equation which provides a lot of fodder for suspicions and grand conspiracy theories. i guess one thought i would just leave before i end here -- the one inspiration could be the foreign agents registration act which many people may be familiar with farrah which has been over seen by the justice department which has been in place for 80 years plus, i think. you will find detailed reports about who meets with whom, exactly how much money is
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changing hands, what kind of work the lobby or the media relations firm is doing for its parents. it's possible they could provide a roadmap for the kind of reporting that might provide real value on the domestic level. >> great, dan. thank you so much. it's wonderful to see by the way that -- that your remarks have brought people to their feet. there are some places to sit along the sides so you all don't have to stand. next up is sheila. >> thank you, daniel. and thanks to everyone here for your interest. the center for responsive politics as daniel says is a nonpartisan nonprofit research group based in washington. and i'm here to talk to you about just the lobbying and revolving door work that we do. one important part is just to -- set the stage here. crp's process is as with other money in politics to gather the data from the federal government in this case the senate office
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of public records and then to process, classify it by industry standard and organize it by organization and analyze it so that we can aggregate by client, registrant, industry and issue an agency targeted and to a degree by lobbyists. all told our research has provided the premier free resource on total lobbying tabulating $3.5 billion spent for each of the last two years running and more than $30 billion spent since 1998. we also analyze the data like our recap march 10th of the the lobbying of the administration's top priorities over the last two years, the stimulus health care reform and cap-and-trade legislation which you can find on our blog. this work is difficult requiring pain staking attention to detail and costly although not nearly as costly as it was -- as it used to be back when we had to pay to key the data. still, this project alone currently runs about 75 to $125,000 a year.
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along with this, the revolving door as a companion database. we tracks cover formal positions for lobbyists and also the current government positions of former lobbyists. our database currently includes nearly 12,000 individuals. we started as the registered lobbyist as the base and then we added onto that from kind of people on the move kinds of daily listings. with this research, folks like dan can measure that three-quarters of all oil and gas lobbyists have spun through the revolving doors. the revolving doors is prevalent. why is this up to a private entity like ours to do? putting out reliable summary, some per client and registrant is something the government can and should do but it would take more political will and more money something that is certainly unlikely in the current cost-cutting environment and it's highly unlikely that congress would agree to invest the resources necessary to do the classification by industry,
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by standardization, by organization. however, if the government were willing to invest in the entity identification work across all government data this would benefit those who would monitor lobbying expenditures enormously. so i wanted to talk a little bit about what would be useful to have our list of -- our wish list and our frustrations. starting with deregistration. in a report that we did on this last june, the question we sought to answer did the recent increased regulation of lobbyists spur deregistration, by might them to deregister and either cease lobbying work or perhaps continuing to lobby but going under the radar? the answer we found, yes, there seemed to be a correlation between added regulations and deregistration. the new ld203 regulations preceded a increase level of deregular nation after obama's additional restrictions banning lobbyists from advisory did hes and lobby on t.a.r.p. funds. and followed by the smaller rise in deregistrations. all told we
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measured an increase that was three times the level of pre-loga deregulations. we found a wide variance in understanding of what is the definition of registration. in fact, even the white house with all of the effort it put spoke not hiring registered lobbyists did three registered lobbyists on their rosters. we also hope to have specific lobbying visits so tying lobbyists to members via specific meetings records would be ideal because then we could more easily monitor relationships. right now those relationships are hidden. members don't generally release their calendars and lobbyists need not disclose the specific member or office staff they are meeting with. therefore, it's impossible to know whether a lobbying relationship exists and whether it's being cemented via campaign contributions either campaign or leadership pack. as it is we can verify relationships via contributions but that's a one day transaction.
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doing in one day would open would require additional information. having unique lobbyist ids would make our work using far, far easier. lobbyists link to specific issues and agencies. there are things that the congress could do right now to improve disclor. stop suppressing the data. we had access to lobbyist per specific issue prior to the ml feed but now their serving up the data via xlm and it's a giant forward and a giant step backward. house and senate data should be the same. we know from long experience -- we started doing this research back in 1996 that these data sets have conflicting information. they should not. if the data is filed separately then congress should use the reconciliation for better disclosure looking for missing or inconsistent reports. finally, i just want to add the time that it takes from submission to the report being accessible on our site is now 3
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to 4 days up from weeks or months that it would have taken us back in 1996. and i'll add to those comments later. >> great, thank you so much. lisa? >> hi. i'm lisa rosenberg. and i'm a professional lobbyist. i've been accused if that's not being a real lobbyists. recovering to me and the president of the american league of lobbyists told the hill newspaper the fact is none of these folks are up on the hill doing lobbying work every day like a professional lobbyist does. now i mention this not to pick a fight and not because i'm sensitive. if you're a lobbyist anymore i think you have to have pretty thick skin. i mention this because it illustrates perfectly why i think we need to have comprehensive lobbyist disclosure. if lobbyists were required to report the offices they meet with very soon after they meet with them mr. marlo would know how much of my time i spent on the hill, who i was talking to and what i was talking about.
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and it would be good for him to know this. if he saw that i was meeting with staff or senate rules to discuss the lda, i imagine he'd want to follow pretty closely on my heels to tell them all the ways that i was mistaken and i think that would be great for the dialog and the way the information gets shared on capitol hill. fundamentally lobbyists are educators. and more disclose would ensure the decision-makers have more complete understanding of all sides of the issues. improving lobbyist disclosure is good for congress and good for lobbyist. the purpose of the lda is to increase public confidence in the government. the lda has failed in that regard because of incomplete coverage, deficient reporting, and delayed reporting. it should come as no surprise that the public perceive lobbyists as back room dealers. they were asked to rate the ethical standards in various professions. lobbyists raped the lowest in
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any field including lawyers, car sales money and members of congressest. the lobbyist ethics is very low. at the same time the public supports better lobbyist disclosure. nearly 9 out of 10 responds on their level of congressional contacts according to 2006 george washington university poll. what that tells me is that lobbying transparency appeals to the public at large and to voters specifically. and i'm not lon. senator gillibrand is someone who takes advantage for the public support of transparency. her own campaign website noted that she was one of the first members of congress to publish all of her official meetings online the day after they occur. the site pointed out that by publishing her official meetings, voters get to see who is lobbying and on what issues. if a voter sees she has met with a group whose views they oppose they can contact her office to make sure their viewpoints are
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heard too. i would only add to that to say that better lobbyist disclosure would also enable citizens or interests to identify others that support their cause. and then use that information to build coalitions or to amplify their message. now, of course, lda reforms are not entirely about improving the image of congress or lobbyists. or even improving the dialog on capitol hill. better lobbyist disclosure served to reduce corruption and the appearance of corruption. this is even more important after the supreme court decision in the citizens united case. that decision created a stronger link between campaign spending and lobbying. now, a lobbyist can without ever saying a word imply that their clients will spend millions of dollars on negative campaign ads if senators and representatives do not do what the lobbyist asks. transparency is the only immediately available tool to check this type of potential undue influence providing watchdogs and journalists with
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the tools they need to uncover possible conflicts of interests or links between contributions or campaign ads and decision of making. the sunlight foundation supports truly comprehensive transparent and timely lobbyist disclosure that would contain three major disclosure components. first, at a minimum, everyone who is paid to lobby must report his or her lobby. second, lobbyists should report the names of the offices that they're meeting with and what they're meeting about. third, the biggest bundlers of campaign contributions should report all of their lobbying activities. and what's also key to this is that all reporting must be done in real time and online so that the public has timely access to this information about lobbying. let me be clear. the last thing i want to do is burden myself or my very small firm with more paperwork. and if it's done right, additional lobbying disclosures do not have to be a burden -- all of the information that we
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have been seeking as lobbyist in a cab right on a cab. sunlight created a mobile app that you can use on cell phones and i want to show you how it works. i've got my colleague who's up there with our mobile disclosure form. and just using the example i gave earlier, if i had talked to senator schumer from new york, click on new york, find the office of senator schumer and i talk to staff, click on staff, rules committee, bill number, unfortunately, we're going to have to make up a bill number since there isn't one yet. client represented, sunlight foundation, lda code would be gob for government reform. the action requested cosponsor a bill. hit submit. now, of course, that goes nowhere because we don't have real time online disclosure but you could see a convenient reporting tool that i think would ease a lot of the
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reporting requirements on lobbyists right now. now, one more thing i would alike to point out is that lobbyist disclosure really can be good for lobbyists. on the american league lobbyists facebook book is a comment that was all telling. all posted that in the state of the union the president for the second year in a row voiced his support for stronger lobbyist disclosure. in response one lobbyist said and i quote this, put it out there. i have nothing to hide. in fact, it would be a great free advertisement about how well and my firm represent our clients. i hope that more lobbyists are like him and are willing to see the upside of disclosure. and perhaps more importantly i would hope that members of congress embraced changes to the lda as a way to create more plans and better dialog on capitol hill. thanks. >> thank you, lisa. paul? >> goodness, where to start? first, let me say i know now i was to come here today to take all the arrows. no, i appreciate the opportunity when you can come together and talk about the state of your
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profession, i think it's a good thing. i think we do have to talk about all these issues. i do want to address some of the things particularly starting with the little display we just saw. we talk about the lobbying disclosure act which you're required to do and i'll look at my notes here today. the only difference which she offered up there now she put senator schumer up there. that's the only thing you don't have to technically do so all the information is up there. if you choose to put with you met with senator schumer but you don't have to but me putting i met with senator schumer's office it's not a true transparency that we're hearing about. if you're talking about true transparency, you're talking about the individual person that you met with. and again, we can -- i hope we get a lot of questions about that because there are some problems with the way you do that. so that's nothing -- what you just saw is nothing more what the current lda mentioned. if you want to add senator schumer god forbid i'm happy to support that. i don't think most lobbyists
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would support those things. i did serve of the american league of oibts during the jack abramoff and i've been called every name in the book and so i'm used to it. i think lobbying is a credible profession. it's one we should have discussions about but when we talk about we have to be realistic about some of the things that we're talking about. we can't go trampling on the constitution just because we don't necessarily like the word lobbyists or lobbying. the constitution gives you the right to petition your government. and when we start crossing that line of who should be able to do that, who shouldn't be able to do that, we're now talking about constitutional rights. and we're talking about taking those rights away from one group of people versus another. it's no different than discriminating against the person with their skin color so we have be careful about that. regulating for the sake of regulating is not good for this profession. it's not good for this country. when i was president, we met with one senior leadership office about lobbying reform efforts that they were trying to push through. and we pointed out the flaws and the loopholes in what they were
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proposing and what i was told was, we don't care. we need to show the public that we have done something and we have to come out with a victory on this. okay. again, folks, you have some folks up here who know this issue. but you don't have other key people to have up here. you want have members of congress. this isn't work without members of congress. if you want to have some transparency and you want some more reforms, you got to have members of congress here. you got to get them to support those initiatives. and i guess when you talk about -- we're talking about two different issues here. we're talking about lobbying disclosure and we're talking about campaign finance. yes there's some correlation between the two but you have to have a separate discussion on campaign finance. that's when you have to have the members of congress. i can't do anything about campaign finance. it's within my right to give a donation if i want to. that doesn't mean i'm seeking any special privilege. or anything else of benefit. it's an opportunity for me and my clients to support people support issues. people in this room are not going to believe me that's fine. but if you want to have a true conversation about campaign finance you have to get the people in the room who will be
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able to make those changes and that's members of congress i know myself and my colleague dave and he won't give to members of congress right now. it's been -- almost two and a half years he's taken that pledge. i did it when i was president and dave is doing it and he's no longer president. there's some of us who believe campaign contributions aren't why we're successful and so, yes, have there been play to play, absolutely i'm not going to sit here and tell you. jack abramoff is a clear sign of that. but for everyone -- anybody to say that the system doesn't work. anybody who broke the law in the abramoff scandal went to prison. they weren't lobbyists. they went to prison for their role. one lobbyist went to prison and that was jack abramoff so we have to be cognizant of that. we are the most heavily regulated profession. we file four times a year with the lobbying disclosure act. if you count the lda203 which lists our campaign contributions, that's another 2. and for others like myself who have a small business or firm, i have to file two.
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i have to file up with for myself and one for my firm. so i'm duplicating the work here. so i'm filing six times, seven times a year -- eight times a year, i guess, in many cases. so for somebody to say there's not transparency, you can find who i represent online very quickly. i was a big supporter as was the american league of lobbyists. online filings. it makes it easier for us. and we were happy to work with the clerks office to make that happen. as were other groups. i'm glad here having a frank discussion but, you know, inaccurate shots at people who aren't here is not going to help the discussion. i think there's common ground here but if we're going to create lobbying -- if there's a need for lobbying reform we're going to have to make sure all the rules apply to everybody. we can't have carve-outs. john mccain said to us back when the abramoff scandal happen. he was less worried about jack abramoff because there was a paper trail for jack. you could find out some of the things that were in the press.
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the people he was concerned about was michael scanlon a p.r. consultant who didn't to have file or register. those are what we have to talk about here today, folks. if you want to make the system cleaner, if you want to make it more transparent, you have to make sure that you cover everybody. and that covers p.r. consultants. grassroots consultants and that will even cover some of the folks who are p.r. -- paid p.r. media people who advocate for an issue. anybody who is directly related to advocating for or against an issue should have to register. if we're talking about all the things i've heard here today. there can't be carvouts. there can't be carvouts for nonprofits. there can't be carvouts for universities. everybody has to fall into the same umbrella. it's just not going to work. one more thing before i end here. we talk about the 2007 lda changes. a lot of people said and speaker pelosi said at the time they were great. the president himself said these are great changes yet the president talks out of one side of his face and does another.
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he talks about how we should report our meetings with members of congress but yet the president will send his key staff down to a coffee shop a politic away to have these metal which are not reportable. so how is that talking about true transparency and reform? so if we're going to do it we're going to have to do it the right way and he can't do those things. and talk about how, you know, he's doing it the right way and we're doing it the wrong way. you can't say i'm not going to hire lobbyists to work in my administration but yet well, you got a bunch of them now. you had to give them waivers. so you can't have it both ways in my opinion. and then finally, campaign finance. the gift rule. everybody thought that that was a good thing to get rid of. you know, it works for me. i wasn't spending money giving gifts anyway but you cannot now say it was a great thing but it got rid of gifts. it doesn't. you're pushing people to the campaign side of things. you're saying i can't take a staffer out for a 30, $40 meal or even 100 at the most. if i'm buying somebody for $100 meals we've got real problems in this country but i can now call
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up that office and say -- or the campaign folks and say i'd like to meet with senator x today and have breakfast with him. sit for two hours. let's have a discussion about my issues that my clients have. and at the end of the day, all i have to do is go thank you very much for your two hour, senator, by the way, here's your campaign check. what's worse, me buying a meal for a staffer and giving an opportunity to go off the hill and talking that or me slipping a check to the member of congress. i think slipping a check. we have to have those discussions and say transparency is going to solve a problem. we got to figure it out that's reasonable and favor fair and that serve covered. if you don't cover everybody it's a moot point to have this conversation. >> thank you, paul. tom? >> i guess i come out somewhere in between. i'm here principally to report on a recent task force report of the american bar association.
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administrative law section. it is a task force report that has not yet been adopted by the aba house of did get, board of governors or even the section. but i was very deeply involved in it and i'm very committed to i personally believe in the recommendations made and it's a pleasure to have the opportunity to report them to you and i should say there were 20 members and observers. dan was part of it. there are a few in the audience here who participated. a number of law firms and lobbying firms, law firms that lobby. and the report represents a consensus. i'm going to skim the top of what it recommends so that we get questions and i'm going to suggest a few things it doesn't recommend because it does indicate in some ways where i come out different from some of the proposals. expanded disclosure. our task force report and by the way it is on the web under the
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administrative law section cite. expanded disclosure that would pick up additional lobbyists by doing away with the 20% requirement for a minimum to report. an expansion of the need to report as paul suggested support entities that are involved. such as those involved and exactly what you mentioned grassroots organizing, media-generating. p.r. consultants. they would be -- they would not be lobbyists for purposes of whatever discrimination and administration wants to impose or other, you know, legal prohibitions but they would be required to file 203's and they would be -- the amount of money
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would be disclosed. and then finally, the ld2 form would be expanded to require additional disclosure elements but not contact reporting. and that's an issue, i guess, that paul and i stand on this end of this spectrum separate from all the other speakers and i hope we'll have an opportunity -- i won't go into it now but i have at least five or six reasons why i think it's a bad idea. and, frankly, the burden on the lobbyist that in large part could well be alleviated by a cell phone or a smart phone app to fill in after you finish with the meeting. but i think it's a bad idea for the lobbyist and the member and we can get back to that. the second part of the task force report addressed the pay
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to play. the heart -- at the heart of it is a simple concept. if you make a campaign contribution to a member you can't lobby that member for two years. if you lobby a member, you can't make a campaign -- i'm sorry. you can't do campaign fundraising for that member for two years. so it does -- it does not inhibit the individual contribution we discussed that in our very smart constitutional law professor suggested that under the current supreme court jurisprudence there may be a problem prohibiting individual campaign contributions which have been equated to first amendment speech. but so far at least bundling fundraising, serving as treasurer, et cetera, are not -- haven't yet been considered to be directly speech by the course and so we would simply prohibit that for a two-year period with we believe compelling governmental interest to do so. and finally there are a few
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miscellaneous proposals. one is to simply require all persons who lobby for earmarks to certify in their semi annual ld203 forms that they haven't contributed or sought contributions from individuals or pac's for any individual who was lobbied. ..
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>> it ought to be a place where with rulemaking authority with a similar enforcement authority, where lobbying regulation could work, but it's been a dysfunctional agency so the task force proposed the civil division of the department of justice to have that authority. so those were the recommendations. just for those of you who are interested in following it, comments and suggestions and criticisms are being invited by the aba now. if you want to send them to me that's fine, i can refer them to the task force and the council.
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it won't be until august if there's any action on the part of the house and delegates to approve or not these recommendations. thank you. >> thank you, tom. there are a couple of chairs over on the far side of the room if you wish to try to wander over there. if not, just make yourself as comfortable as you can. we've heard reference to a different reports. the sunlight foundation didn't mention this but i'm sure they will. they have been working on reform legislation through the aba's task force report, and there's a five lobbying principles that was put forth by the american league of lobbyists. on all of your chairs is a piece of paper that provides hyperlinked to wear all these documents can be done. as well as a bunch of other useful resources. if you're trying to find these things, i put them together. if you'll excuse the spelling errors i think you'll find them pretty useful. i'd like to come back around and
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start with dan. you were talking earlier about the 22000 return on investment and forms a particular instance you are working on where, for every dollar that was that lobbying the tax break result was $220 for the clients. and the question that i have for you, and it does nothing to the substance of what all of us were talking about here, what would be helpful in your trying to do your job, what would make it easier to find what you're looking for? you mentioned a bit about the database before the registration act that attracts people who lobby. what you think would be useful ours is something else you think would be? >> i think with what someone other side of the table
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mentioned, i'm interested to hear about, what the concerns are about basically contact reporting. that's sort of the bottom line that ties things together. right now if i'm going to a lobbying report i can tell, you can tell which lobbyists have lobbied on which bills. but you can't tell how much was spent on the. you don't know if it took them a day or if they spent eight months on it, you know, in terms of the overall workload of that given firm or that given lobbyists. i think that when you look at era records, actually i'm in the first time i did a story that was related to that and us not familiar with it. wow, it was like a gold mine of information compared to what i was used to under the congressional system.
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they are required to report all meetings. they are required to report when they happen. they are required, the report the contracts our public. the amount of money. i'm not saying going that far in domestic context. there's national security reasons, that bolster the ardent for that level of interest does. but on the other hand, i am interested to hear what some practicing lobbyists, what the concerns are about simply reporting who you actually talk to. and why that could pose a problem from the lobbying perspective. >> would someone like to address that? >> sure. let's start with the gillibrand example. as i understand she posted official business. what about unofficial business?
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is a fundraiser official or unofficial? is a meaning out of the capital, the lobby, is that official or unofficial? if it doesn't go through for scheduling secretaries, is it official or unofficial? the reason that's important is because i'm going to support the candidate running against her next year. and i'm going to show just how big a lie she's engaged in trying to be transparent and how many people she's meeting that are not posted. and how absolutely distrustful that kind of approaches. but then i also, another candidate who's running against a conservative southern, member of congress, christian conservative, and we are having the right to life and marijuana lobbyists visit his office two or three times a day.
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because i want my candidate to be able to report what a hypocrite this guy is, spending more time with these simple lobbyists than he does with religious lobbyists. so, i mean, and finally, even if i am perfectly honest and above board as a lobbyist, when i come up to the congressional offices, i know that paul is trying to meet because his client is on the other side of this issue. and so i'm actually going to visit a half a dozen offices on my way to where i want to go to talk substance. so that i can list all seven of them. he won't know the difference between the ones that were dropped by hello, here's a piece of paper on our issue and when we spent a half hour industry's strategic negotiations. i didn't mention the burden issue because the aba is only engaged in communicating with congress on about 120 issues a
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year. with nine registered lobbyists. so, you want to break that out issue wise, i mean, i can't afford not to talk about more than one issue when i actually get with the member or chief of staff. so that's going to be i'd say at least complicated. >> i think tom said it perfectly but i would just add, what constitutes a meeting? i do a lot of charity work with rumors of congress that has nothing to do, and i have a personal policy that if i do some charity work for them, i don't lobby them. that's a personal thing. >> year alone. >> maybe. but i think -- but if i'm walking down the hall and i see congressman x. and a pull him aside because i have many blue see him about the state and will need them there and things for that for a basketball game so are you going to play this year, we have x. amount of people there. yeah, i'm going to play this. do i have to report that as a
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meeting? does he have to report it as a meeting? what if you have a meeting of a congress that coastal coalition, do they now have to collect business cards? i met with all these people on this issue. do i have to do the same? it is burdensome. not that we care. i don't personally care. i'm not going to track tom or anyone else. i know when issues are and i know what i have to get done. so i just think it's an unrealistic systems to think you can do it every day. i just don't believe that. who's it going to benefit? if transparency is for the general public to see who we are meeting with, i could understand that. but this isn't for the general public. the general public is not going to know where i met with senator b.r. x, y and z. it's going to be a name for them. what are they going to do with that? let's be honest. this is for the media. this is for the media to track this, and again, no problems with the media but let's not pretend that there aren't some inflated store that paul miller
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met with congressman x. on this issue, oh, my gosh. they were successful. there had to be a quid pro quo here. there had to be a plate to pay. even if i did give them money. why can it be that i'm just good at my job? i'm not giving hundreds of thousands of dollars. i'm low rent when it comes to that. however, you want to label it. i'm not buying anything. i'm going to a fundraiser just like everybody else with 30 to 40 of my closest friends were spinning the same amount of money. i'm not buying that vote. regardless of what people may think. i'll just leave it at that. >> i feel like i have to defend the argument that the contact should be reported. getting to tom's point in terms of gillibrand in terms to what the lobby sastre port, with official or what's not. at a lobbyist is going to meeting to ask for substitute help on an issue, they know that. their clients know that. that's how they build their
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clients. so it's not that difficult to figure out why you're going up to bill. again, paul's point as we'll. if you're asking a member of congress to join you on a basketball game, then that's not a substantive issue. asking for government help for something. and paul is not going to be building any client and say let's go to this basketball game. again, i think it's a lobbyist -- let's take this more serious it. lobbyists know who they're going to, what they want, they have that knowledge base. so i don't think it's going to be that burdensome for them to figure out what meetings are substantive, without asking to report, how are you doing senator, when you see someone in all. we are not asking for importing of request for meeting or just sort of logistics. it's a substantive request for a government action. that language is already in the law. and i think getting to the point of you guys, tom made in terms of how meanies can be used against you. again i think everyone has to
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report the kind of balance out the issues. when i worked on the hill, our office did, if they all have to report that i think that defuses the heat they can be attached to any one particular meeting. so i think that these are issues that we can work through, they are not easy issues but i think the definitions can be created to really resolve the issues. so we had meaningful reporting so that people like the media can act as a conduit for the public. it is for the public and it is for the me. that's how the public gets its information. i think that is important. that is what extent is about. it's also for interest groups. they can track their interest, who is meeting with them. again, leveling the playing field, balancing the playing field so that all sides of the issue. >> i will give dan a chance to see if you want to weigh in on this. >> i guess i do have one
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question. i'm curious about the argument from the lobbyist objected that is too much to keep track, to come together. i mean, these are by large law firms, a lot of law firms do lobbying and then there specialized lobbying firms. i'm quite sure that they require the clients require, they want to know exactly what you are doing for their money. i think you're keeping track of it anyway, aren't you? i'm not quite understand that part of the argument about being too much -- >> two things. what about the small one person shop? if i have five different clients and i'm representing one on this issue, i don't have time. i did this not have to add another 30 minutes into my schedule, track this and write this down. >> it doesn't take 30 minutes. >> i don't use my cell phone so i have to carry a personal
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computer or something and go back to my office of the more time at the end of the day when i want to get home and play with my kids. i now have to write contacts. if we're going to go that far, what i call professional people make him a three '04 times a year for an association, not registered lobbyists asking for something to do we now require them to report that? should we require them to register because they're doing with what i do think they're doing it three, four times, maybe once a quarter but they are still doing and what i do. we should so the information and track those people are if they know what i'm doing, why shouldn't i had the ability to know what they're doing? >> i would agree with that. i mean, i think as tom mentioned this, closing the 20% loophole ensuring that anyone who is paid to lobby, reports have to be part of the reform. there cannot be exceptions. >> but your document everybody and just about everybody in america will have to report. everybody who comes you will be
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considered a lobbyist. they are not professional lobbyists. i think the aba lobbying task force addresses this particular point. >> it still retains a monetary threshold. so it doesn't catch people who are not paid to come in. but let me get back. corporations, trade associations, and most lobbying firms that do retainer work don't keep hourly -- i mean, i practiced law for 27 years. you're right, every law firm, we keep every six or 15 minutes worth of time. the lawyer spins including lobbying, including who i met with. but we've tried time reporting. i see a few of my colleagues smiling or in the audience. for the american bar association, and it's just, it really does add a great deal of
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time, and often unclear to us. we know who we are talking to, at the issues, in terms of a lot of work we do is prepare toward. involves relationship building, which isn't an initial ask. when the aba president comes into town we tried to take her or him up to meet with chairman of the committees. because we also provide assistance and information and support for some of them. i know you wouldn't believe it. we go on a fair amount of visits where there's not a request for any official action. are they important? yes. are they a waste of time? absolutely not. do they support the lobbying objectives? i sure hope so. will they be reportable under your system? no. they shouldn't be, but i'm just saying there's nothing -- i just
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think the level would be so high when every lobbyist is reporting every contact that despite your terrific computers and your wonderful reports, that ability to extract really useful information out of this is going to be not worth the investment. >> if i could ask a follow-up. this is just a crazy flip of the script kind of question. what if you flip it the other way and the burden is on the members office, or the committee's office? i apropos of visit to the white house. >> what you saw 2000 several members of congress, they're going to shut themselves off to a strict who's going to want to do the paperwork? they will say they will not make you. people can say that didn't happen in 2007-2008. it did. they just don't want to have the hassle so it's going to happen. again, is that good for our government? is that good for our system? i don't think so. >> i want to turn and sort of,
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this may different perspective. sort of, we're talking about the reporting site. let's talk about the side that what should be made available from what we have now. going to turn to sheila. during sort of your introductory march you were talking about ids which is an incredibly terrible term which is basically means trying to figure out whether the person talking with is the same person. can you talk more about that, the problems are currently facing? just trying to track the data that currently exist and where those gaps are? >> sure. well, we and our data are trying to fingerprint two to 3 million records each year. and a large part of that has to do with individual donations giving more than $200. in campaign contributions but we also do i.t. lobbyists, and part of that is because we want to be able to see whether those lobbyists are working on
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specific issues and then contributing to members who have jurisdiction over those areas in congress. that's one matchup that michael in combination of data that might do with the lobbying information, but unique ids would help tremendously in hard work to do that. we create unique ids per individual lobbyists in our data so that we can say this person who is representing these clients this year had represented these other clients in these other industries in previous years. it would also help enormously, it would help in our standard research, help with match ups with other kinds of data like the campaign contributions. it would help in tracking deregistration which, of course, is a been a hot topic of conversation over the last few years with regulation reform. because ids would help us identify how many lobbyists are registered as would the addition of a checkbox, another simple
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reform in the disclosure form that would seem to be a commonsense change that could be put in place now. this would help us examine whether reform policies are having their intended effects are whether they're having unintended affects, alleged with the obama administration change. we've invested an enormous amounts of our time just in doing that kind of work. >> the way things exist right now, and i'm going to pick on you, paul, just because you're disabled and it's probably common. the way things work now is paul firm files these forms, write? not paul individually, is that correct? >> registering. >> so if i want to follow all the context is reporting, there isn't a way to know that this paul miller shares the same as paul miller and some other place to react to go through and look
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at each one to make sure it's the same person, is that right? >> right. we don't have any id provided by the secretary of the senate's office. >> although all lobbyists do have a unique id i assume, is that right? >> we do, but i think an easy way to do this, and i may be in the minority for this, but maybe every lobby should have its own identification number so that you have defiled, every time you fill your lda format to put that next to her name. because again, in the past i forget and sometimes just put paul miller. if i allow and put paul a. miller. and if i filed the next quarter as paul miller, i'm the same person but you may not know and you'll have a hard time. again, i don't think many of us in this profession would care if we had a unique identifier. it's not a big deal.
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it's another box next to your name may be that you have to check-in, and if you're doing it electronically it's going to stay in there from quarter to quarter if you're saving the document anyway. i don't think it's a problem, and i may be one of maybe a handful in this town who believe that. i've been concerned that there is no real requirement to be a lobbyist other than if you find a client to pay you, you hang up your shingle. there's no required education. the american legal has a program now that we're very proud of that we started before the scandal. but i'm when he says, it's not unconstitutional, maybe we should have a license, we should be licensed. i've talked to lawyers and they will tell it's unconstitutional. it's not an american legal lobbyist position. that's my own. and i know that the aba lobbying report has recommendation on this point with respect to unique -- unique ids. i want to get to something that the side of the room has brought up which has to do with the
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21st -- the 20% special. as the law stands, i feel apprehensive about summarizing it, but to become a federally registered lobbyists you need basically three things. unique to contacts with the covert official, you need to spend 20% every time lobbying and you need to send over certain threshold amounts but what i'm hearing is the 20% threshold, i'm hearing this in different ways but the 20% threshold may not make sense. i'm hearing from you pull there's a lot of people that are doing lobbying support work, you reference the scale, a lot of people are doing these kinds of behaviors that are not caught in the lobby registration system. i know that the aba lobbying task force is reducing the number significantly. i know that sunlight is approaching it. so i sort of want to play through the system a bit, and i'm going to start with a tough question, i think this is a tough question, for lisa. so if you limit the 20%
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exemption, there's a lot of folks who are the small firm, the nonprofit lobby shops. like sunlight, where you have one or two-person lobbyists like a chore for them as well. is it fair to treat the for-profit folks from the people represent corporations, those with deep pockets, should those folks be treated the same as the small fry in terms of terms of 20%, getting rid of the 20% rule in town or some sort of threshold level? >> i think that the concerned that a lot of lobbyists for nonprofit organizations have with removing the 20% threshold comes as result of some of the punitive for lack of better word actions that involve the obama administration, higher lobbyist or floppies can't serve on boards. and i think surely some of the nonprofit groups are saying wait a minute, we are different than the for-profit guys or the big guys or whatever. we should have this punitive treatment.
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i would just say that from my perspective i don't want to be in position of picking and choosing who should have to report and who shouldn't. there could be a very powerful lobbyist for nonprofit organization compared to somebody who is a for-profit lobbyist but is a small firm. that person could have more access than another person. so i don't think that it's fair to kind of in terms of disclosure, break it up that way. i think i would personally rather see some of these punitive issues or other just remove. it is people that any administration doesn't want serving in his administration, use a different regime in a different definition to define who those people are. you shouldn't use a disclosure regime which is what the aba in essence really is to say you can't work for me. are you can't serve on this committee. i don't think we should pick and choose who has to disclose and
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who doesn't. i think we get the big picture, and i think it opens up the door to a lot of loopholes as well, and i think there's ways lobbies could gained the system and say we are working 19% of the time. there are huge lobbyists right now, former members of congress, who don't report. but we know they're lobbying. it's not that they are filing the current law, they are under the 20% exception. i don't think that is something we can continue in the future if we want full disclosure. >> i think you and i just agreed on a statement. you saw a writer, folks. i would agree, the question comes back to just because you're small you should have to do this or your big, you should be have to require more reporting because you're bigger, your nonprofits are you not making as much money, you could make the same argument on the contacts issue. i'm a small guy so why should i report and why should i have to spend that kind of time? i want to carve out.
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if we start carving people out of this, the end of the things you are deluding the process. you are deluding this conversation. if you capture one you have to capture all. if you're advocating for or against something, we have these rules, you should be required to report. it should be open to the public to find the are and what they are doing. otherwise we're just wasting our time and just -- >> i would say three years ago when i was in a multinational private law firm representing large corporate and association clients, that i was just a wish nonprofit and for-profit. after all, nra, yell university, chamber of commerce were all nonprofits. now that i'm working for the american bar association i begin to rethink that subject. >> i do want to touch on enforcement question for a bit and then will move to questions from the audience. so in terms of enforcement, everything that i've read and what we heard today is that
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enforcement is incredibly lax. the doj never brings prosecutions, the house and the senate office of public records, the clerk are not situated in such a way where they clean up the record to make sure the records are rectified one against the other. even people fail to file or not at all this is a long question. there was a proposal i think in the last congress, sort of two pieces. one piece of it was lobbyists should have to pay a small registration fee. it was $10 per lobbyist. if you violate, that there's a $500 late fee. i don't know if this is a good idea or bad idea. i'm trying to think of ways that address the enforcement question. i know the aba deals with this in terms of recommending the civil division tried to do with this. i was hoping in some going down
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the list, paul, do you have thoughts on how enforcement can be beefed up? i know one of the five principles -- >> this is probably more for tom and his backer. you can't legislate morality. people are going to break the law when they want to. if there are dollar signs there and they can find a way, there will always be those people who do it. is that every lobbyist in town? no. there's a small few. i think those of us who work in this profession long enough to know who those people are and you stay away from the. at some point they will pay the piper. jacketed, but is there a way to police everything we do now? in my opinion you're on the honor system. there are lot of us in this profession who hold true that way. lda has a code of ethics. we subscribe to that code of ethics. everybody goes through our firm and works for me has to go to the lobbying certificate program. so there's things we can do. i just don't know how you would
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enforce that. who's going to drop a dime on a former member of congress? they have access to the gym, the parking lot, and the floor and things like that and they're not registered lobbyists. they are just seeing their pals. >> is honest enough? >> there's a few different ways. i mean, you can't enforce morale the but that doesn't mean we don't have laws against bribery or actually speeding. i mean, we don't catch everybody. but having a law that sets a limit, and some people get caught. sends a pretty strong message to the rest of us who would engage in activity that was illegal, not just unethical, if it were defined as illegal. and so, therefore, the fact that, the fact that enforcement is going to be in perfect doesn't mean that there shouldn't be enforcement, shouldn't be penalties. the second sight of is how do you do this?
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and there's a lot of political problems, when i mentioned the fec, congress doesn't want to put enforcement in someone else's hands, especially when it's enforcement that will implicate congress as almost every lobbyist violation does. and so because very tough, congress does not want to give an executive branch the authority to effectively police something near and dear to the heart of and close to the pocketbooks of congress and members of congress' campaigns. it doesn't say that we can do a better job. the initial federal registration of lobbying and regulation of lobbying act had terminal penalties only. that was a big mistake. it didn't work. the justice department didn't enforce it completely. decades ago. we tried a different regime
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under the lobbying disclosure act. and it was, i we use the term imperfect. u.s. attorneys would use form letters and not follow-up. i think actually they were responsible for turning up through a freedom of information request to get the only incidences of justice department consent actions and didn't tell us very much information about it. it isn't as if enforcement is used as a way of keeping people within the lines because they don't tell you about enforcement. well, logan tried to do something about that for greater disclosure. referrals and actions taken, and i guess that may not be working that well either. so, i'm not sure, you know, we will think of the ways, but to say because it's difficult we
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shouldn't think in terms of enforcement is not the right approach here. speak up without i'd like to open up to questions. and with someone with the microphone, melanie, we will start in the front and work our way back. so, this gentleman here. speak of it would be much better if i hold it. >> i have a question about the extent of either interest or resistance to any of these proposals in terms of whether anybody has talk to members of congress about them and what you've heard that, what you think you might hear back. and it seems like none of these have gotten even to the extent of being introduced as legislation. has anybody been talking to potential sponsors, that kind of stuff? anything you can share a long
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those lines? >> mine is a real edge because as i said early on is not yet the official position of the american bar association. so as the aba's chief lobbyist i can't advocate beyond appearing in an education program like this. [inaudible] >> we won't be actively pursuing a but i think it's a long-term. i will say it's a long-term agenda, in that, you know, congress will be rushing into consider lobbying legislation this session. it's going to take something else. whether it's the next scandal are working up to the next election, that the members will look around because we needed something about this, what can we do? i think probably all of us have the same thoughts, we have tried and tested language and exposed concepts ready to go when the time occurs. so that's the optimistic perspective. >> i would add one thing, and
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that is not representative quickly in the last congress introduced this bill called the transparency in government act. and that was a broad sweeping transparency bill. and it was work provisions on lobbyist disclosure. it was as cover his ago certainly has some i would've liked although it includes some contact information. and disclose and a few other changes to lobbyist disclosure. i believe congressman quickly is going to introduce that bill again. but certainly i think i would agree with tom. i think it needs to be an opportunity to educate members of congress on what can be done, what needs to be done and kind of build the knowledge that way. i would just add in your research there's a link to the page that has all of the lobbying reform related bills that were it is in the last congress. the only comprehensive one was transparency in government act, although there were a couple of small in there as well. if you follow the links you can find out about that.
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>> just a comment first. all of the big points being talked about here today, enforcement, coverage of the lobbying support, issues like that, greater disclosure, contacts, there's really nothing new exceptionally. all of these have been raised a number of times in the past, and they haven't generally been dealt with for a range of reasons. second, i would think as a longtime lobbyist that has been lobbying for 30 something years and has been outspoken many times for the lobbying reform, i can say that there are many lobbyists who do in fact support, indeed greater reforms than, say, sunlight or certainly greater than the aba. as a longtime lobbyist who has made countless contacts, i'm a
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little troubled by having, the thought of having to report every time i talk to someone. you know, it is a burden. if i'm doing my job, and believing, i'm talking to everybody. i think you folks from the press, sunlight, maybe putting a little more emphasis on that that it is worth. the big things that are talked about here, but broader coverage of people, the greater enforcement, and the need to separate campaign-finance from the lobbying process. >> i just want to respond quickly. in terms of coverage. maybe we disagree on the degree of contacts that should be reported. the lobbying law right now says that i as a lobbyist after poor
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weather i met with a house and senate with executive branch. to me that's meaningless. so to say what office i met with, what committee i met with, i don't think is that much more of a burden and they do think it would add a lot to the understanding, and it's been done. there's a lot in canada that requires contacts to be reported. there's a san francisco reporting machine. is there not, you know, across the country, but i do think that is him out a detailed i don't think it's that difficult speaker i agree with you if it is simply me saying that i am contacting all of the people and have to list the names. but if it means he having to go and list every time i indian with that particular office, that gives me more concerned. >> again, i think another proposal of sunlight that differs from the aba is we do, you will disagree with us, but we do encourage real-time
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reporting. or as near to real-time as possible. i agree with you. if it's one continuous conversation to keep going back and forth with, you know, one staffer on one issue, then that is unrealistic. i would completely agree to have to report that same conversation every single time. that i have. well, what about this? i think you should do x, y and z. so there has to be lines. we want to be reasonable. i do want to report every time i send an e-mail either. but to just say that every quarter, even if i have to list who i met with, i think that misses the point where we're talking about this really is an effort to improve the dialogue. so if a quarter goes by, i don't know who paul has been talking to, and then all of a sudden i see has been talking to people and government reform committee, you know, maybe it's too late and maybe i can get my message heard in real-time in the amount of time that it needs to be meaningful.
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>> can add to that? again, it's not my job to help you do your job. i have a strategy. i meeting with people. i meeting, if into my job correctly i meeting with everybody on the committee. it's not my job to do your job for you. so if you want to track who i meeting with just the you can go in behind me, that's not, that's not what this transparency system is for. it's not to help you do your job. it's to help people see who we are meeting with. now we're taking it to a whole new level. you now want me to be responsible for you doing her job. if we are going to do that can ambush you and get a piece of the paycheck at the end of the month? i be happy to do that. >> it's about trust in government, it is about the integrity of the process and i think that is why we need more realistic speak about me doing your job as far as me tell you who i met with so you can go after me to send your message, that's not transparent. >> i think part of the problem the public has with this
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institution and with his profession is that they think that there are the sacred meetings going on behind closed doors. >> you are skewing the argument. you are saying the general public that wants to know who i am tracking. if you want the click bar down goes, you can put veterans affairs committee, i'm happy to click that. but what you announcing is the general public wants to i meeting with scott peterson and xyz committee at 3:00 p.m. and this is the issue discussed. no, that's what you want me to do. you ask me to do your job and asked me who i meeting with. >> if you look at the example, it didn't save the name or what kind of meeting took place, so no, i think you're reading too much into it. but i think the integrity requires that more is out there so people don't perceive lobbyists as making all these backroom secret meetings. >> how do we treat written communications and phone calls? by and large, i hate to say it,
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but given the dynamics of capitol hill security and the wonders of electronic indications, you can cover a lot more territory with e-mails and telephone than you can with shoe leather. real-time reporting? >> again, i think it's a fair question. we can't create a loophole as we're doing this. so i'm not going to say it can only be face-to-face can indications because obviously that will -- they do somehow, those types of can indications have to be covered. again, if it's an initial contact of saying what you think about lda reform, and is 27 e-mails back and forth between the staffer and a lobbyist on that, no, i do think all 27 e-mails need to be reported. do i think that initial e-mail needs to be reported, that initial contact? >> so when we have, would send out a communication to the senate on appropriations matters
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to all hundred senators -- >> i think the aba actually in your own proposal you have always -- >> the aba doesn't require contact reporting. that was, i raise that as a subject that was not included. >> regardless, i think there's ways to carve out. >> y. carveout? wait a second. >> here we go. >> y. carveout speak with you to make a filing requirement that says every member of the senate finance committee, every democratic governor. >> absolutely. but how helpful is that with you because, any good lobbies will cover every member of the finance committee before an important matter comes out. >> let me turn around and ask these guys. how helpful is that? how helpful is it to know that someone has been meeting with every member of a particular committee, for example? or they send a communicator every member of the senate, everyone who is working on a
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particular issue? >> first, that is helpful. in the sense that it shows the enforcement of an issue, to a particular lobbying group. you find this out when you report a story like this, on the committee level or something, a lot of times it's also telling who they don't meet with and they don't contact. sometimes it's partisan. sometimes there just isn't with republicans or just dealing with the democrats. so actually that has some value. i don't know if it's worth the trade off. that's a policy debate, but there is actually some benefit to the. i should let sheila deal with his first and i'll come back. and their interest in it campaign finance point, the questioner me. i think it's an interesting. >> also from our perspective again, if you're interested in identifying and measuring to
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some degree the relative clout of one interest compared to another, if you would be able to see a demonstrable relationship, the client and/or the representation met with that member or that ranking member of that committee, so it demonstrate a relationship and it demonstrates the relative clout of a particular interest. and the frequency with which an entity is meeting with, or lobbyist is meeting with members of congress demonstrates the money that they're putting behind it. we don't have any way of knowing how much, you know, they are spending on a particular issue relative to any others. but if you're concerned about -- [inaudible] [laughter] >> if you want to know how much is pfizer putting on health care reform, you'd be able to then see how often their representation is listing a
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meeting with a chairman of a committee that has jurisdiction over the issue, or how often their listing that issue as the topic that they are doing. >> can i play devil's advocate on that one? again, if the onus is on me to do this and say i want to be the next jack abramoff, i want to build my client list and get new clients and make millions, i just write out i met with every chairman, every chief of staff, to help bolster my claim that i'm the best in this town and i had access that is needed to represent people. that's not an accurate reporting. and who are you going to believe, it's my word against theirs that they are not reporting. who's to say i didn't give? >> so you would just -- your point is people will i? >> there could be. when you talk about the top 25 reporting in "roll call" every year, who are making the most money, the firms and how much w.h.o. i essentially guess if you want to those reports, and it has
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probably been some misleading accountability, accounts in their old strength of dollars to make the top 25. >> that gets back to the question of enforcement. >> again, i'm just going double's advocate. >> i think people can lie now and we have much, much less information. so i agree with the commentary that to know that somebody lobbied the house or the senate is virtually worthless. so it's trying to measure for the average citizen how much are these powerful moneyed interests, players, and pushing on a particular issue so that they can engage how much the congress is passing legislation or halting legislation based on the merits and not based on those interests and their relationships with them. >> dan, did you want to way back in? >> campaign-finance issues are interesting to me. it's interesting to me for the
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predictable reasons, the way that that plays out in this town, the way that you gain influence and prestige by raising money for members and all that sort of thing. but what i found most interesting was reflected in the question was the very dirty little secret is a lot of lobbyists would gladly never have to do another fundraiser again. and so i'm very intrigued by the aba idea because i think basically that gives everyone an out, is my reading of that. that if you -- as a lobbyist, if you're the type of lobbies that to some extent is basically being pressured into the system having to show up and sign the check and all that, you can say look, i've got to be able to do my job so i can't, you do, raise money for you. is that kind of the intent? can you talk about that? >> i love to.
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because as a predicate to that, when a task force first got to get him is his lawyers, the american bar association, we really don't need to think about -- they have codes of ethics and their enforceable. so what about doing something that just applies to lawyers and makes it an ethical violation for lawyers to pay to play through mixing lobbying and campaign finance? of course, the answer to that was paul miller, that is tremendous advantage. i then approached a.l.l., when they were revising the code of ethics and i said how but you guys consider addressing this issue as part of the code? we had a lot of people dropping out, an even playing field. nonmembers would be able to give money. so i hear this and go throughout, that i think
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probably most of the professional lobbyists in the room would say, would agree. because we are interested in the betterment of the profession or we wouldn't be here. saying, you know, as long as it's a level playing field, and i'll lobbyist ari equally situated, then we would love not to be criticized and vilified by day and to have members or fundraisers hands in our pockets for breakfast and at nighttime. and so having that as across the board, you know, that would require legislation. and congress is not likely to be enthusiastic about removing that lucrative source of fundraising from the system. and that's a problem because there are some reasons that
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people give money and raise money that don't relate to subsidy the objectives in your lobbying. i mean, a friend who is running for congress, or a friend who's in congress, just personal, i don't ever do business with. but i would write a check. i don't know that i'm working for a nonprofit, but, you know, a little token of my personal affection. our, paul would come to me and say i need you, i'm going to a fundraiser, this is a subject that i know you believe in, education thing, i would send a check with them and, of course, i call him back. that's no commitment. i'm not looking for any objective. but that small, that's very teeny. but most of it is, is you are looking for something. some industry because you know the member has helped or you wanted to know. but access, i mean, people say it's not vote buying, of course
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it's not vote buying, but when you're influential in keeping a member in office by raising substantial funds, it's worth something to that member. i've spoken, written from time to time about the very basic principle of reciprocity. when you done an important favor for a member of congress. it's hardwired to respond to that favorably in some way. >> i would agree to what a lot of what tom said, but what happens in a situation where you have somebody come again, spent $500 in a two-year cycle because they want that person back because they're so supportive of say, small business issue. they're not necessary working on anything in particular but they spend $500 now. is that quid pro quo because they want that person there?
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>> in my opinion campaign occupations should be vilified. yes, i will agree that there is a lot of things that probably need to be changed and question becomes how to do that so you don't make it so difficult for the average person like myself to be able to support somebody. >> distance between campaign contributions and fundraising activities. being a campaign treasurer or chair, hosting over -- hosting or supporting fundraising event. bundling of many different sorts. those are all activities that go beyond the individual contribution. is that something that you could feel comfortable saying that it's wrong for lobbyists to do? >> as a treasure i do. if you're a lobbyist you shouldn't a treasure or running any number of congresses, i don't think you should be in the business of doing that. i do believe though, again, say one of my clients is a small
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business association says we would like to have an industry breakfast, which organize it, would you post it. i don't see anything wrong with that, putting my name on an invite and asking members of the industry to support this member of congress because he or she has been so supportive of the issues that they are, are important to them. not necessary they're asking him or her to do something specific, but again, we want to keep -- if i get the other guy or other woman, i'm not going to be any better off. i might as well close up shop and move into a different profession because it's going to make my job harder. >> if this were a direct gift to the person because you were really not, you are pleased with the work that they did to support a small business, you want and another $500, that would be illegal gratuity. because it would be given by virtue of their position. >> but then you may as well, anybody in america who is given a contribution -- >> were not going to arrest anybody. we're going to try to craft
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rules which separate fund-raising from lobbying. >> so, and with that, i think we'll take one more question from the audience and then we will end. and actually-- yes. >> hi, everybody. i'm meredith mcgehee. i was pleased able to participate in the aba exercise, and think i would highly recommend anybody to take a look, that anybody agreed on everything but it's very interesting proposals and well put together. and my question actually was touched on by dan. and i really, i struggle with this because i've been working on lobby reforms for so long. and that is, we struggle so much in terms of who is a lobbyist and defied the and getting them to report. as the one person shall pay
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don't have to my to burden. and i find myself, sheila and i have had this conversation, thinking maybe we do have this flipped the wrong way. that rather than all these individuals out here trying to report, why aren't the public officials themselves doing these reports? if they meet with someone who is a registered lobbyist, that should be on the database. at you know who that is. we all know if you are the executive branch, and you try to have a meeting in executive branch these days, by the time you give your social security number or have the information just to get in the door and your id, there's not a question of saying this is burdensome. they already have everything in the world practically about you. so my question comes back to you is, should we really take a step back and think that the reporting should not be by the lobbyist, but by the government official who is receiving? and that we have a better chance of having enforcement, and you have a better chance of having
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the accurate information because there's more accountability. just an idea that i would like to hear people. >> i would say no. i would rather have some a reporting requirement myself and force them to do it because what you'll do, in my opinion, they will close them all and they will not meet with us. and again, if i had to go and get to my social security number, date of birth and all this other stuff, it's going to take forever for me to get a meeting. if i just wanted to a draw but i can't do that because i have to go to this requirement to get to the database to see if i'm okay and i'm not somebody who's going to blow up a building or something like that. i'd rather take a few more, have a few more burdensome steps on myself versus u2 them. i don't think you'll be ineffective and we'll close out the process. that's just my 2 cents worth. >> i think members will not do that to themselves because the likelihood of some common even unintentional, unintended error
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that could get a member in trouble if you wind up, you know, if you walk in the door to scan your lobbyist id number, but if you catch them in the hall, you didn't. and so later the lobbyist is going to come out that the lobbyist met with so-and-so because we may have to report that or not. the member hasn't reported it. they don't, you know, that's i think going to be viewed by members as a trap for them. and i think paul's point, it will chill, exchanges. i mean, you know, lobbyists discussions with members isn't a bad thing. i don't think. so i'm not real enthusiastic about making members uncertain about whether they should talk to you. that's really what it sort of amounts due. >> i was just going to say i think it is, as fluid and easy
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as you can make it, leveraging technology to make instantaneous, i think it would be, it's a higher hurdle because they are going to use the burden as i think we have already heard from some public officials. use that as an excuse to not even go. so it's a high bar to get them to act on it, but it's a higher bar if they viewed it as a burden that they are adopting themselves. >> speaking of bars, some state legislatures require lobbyists to wear identification tags. it seems to me if we all had a barcode with our id, that way the member would only have to have a portable scanner. never mind. [laughter] >> anyway, so, do you want to have the last word on that? in that case i would like to thank -- do you want to say something? >> yes, i just wanted to save one more


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