The Knesset .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Zionist Union MK Miki Rosenthal has revived a bill that seeks to expand the definition of a lobbyist and further limit their activities.
“The lobbyists got more sophisticated; now we are, too,” Rosenthal said on Monday.
The bill, written in cooperation with the Movement for Quality Government, would define a lobbyist as anyone who wants to persuade an elected official, adviser or official representing the government to favor the lobbyist’s stance about anything concerning Knesset decisions.
“Black-market lobbying,” which Rosenthal defines as lobbying outside of the Knesset, would be regulated by law for the first time. Former MKs, their aides and ministry directors-general would also not be able to work in their field for three years after leaving their job.
Rosenthal seeks to prohibit lobbyists from entering MKs’ offices as well as professional offices in the Knesset, such as that of the legal adviser, and to require data that lobbyists give to MKs to be documented by the Knesset Research and Information Center.
All lobbyists present in Knesset committees will have to declare themselves and their employers at the beginning of a meeting, and the information will need to be updated on the Knesset website each month.
In addition, lobbyists will have to declare if they are a member of any political party’s institutions or if they were a party’s candidates for the Knesset, local authority or any other position in the past.
If the bill becomes law, it will be the first time that the limitations in communications between politicians and lobbyists will apply outside of the Knesset, as well.
A first-time offender could be fined up to NIS 2,260,000.
Rosenthal posited that there is a record high amount of lobbyists in the current Knesset.
“The wealthy enjoy free access to politicians,” he stated. “Decision-makers are surrounded by people with other interests who are acting secretly and are not even labeled as lobbyists.
Rosenthal said that all MKs meet so-called black-market lobbyists, while the public’s interests are not represented.
“The new law gives a comprehensive solution to the urgent need for regulation,” he said