The board that oversees lobbyists in Iowa would like to change the way they report. Instead of more details, the Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board would like a little less.Ethics board chairman Charlie Smithson says to promote public confidence, there should be fewer but better reports, a streamlined process. Smithson says lobbyists are burying his board in paperwork. He admits the reason may be state requirements.Smithson says he’s worked in other jurisdictions where tighter oversight may have been needed.He says Iowa’s lobbyists have been relatively “scandal-free” but could tweak its system to improve it. Smithson says the rule could use some details clarifying just what counts as “lobbyist spending,” for example.Nobody’s certain what’s a lobbying expense, so some put down phone calls and even paper, some nothing at all. Current lobbyist disclosure requirements were adopted almost a decade ago, after a trust-fund scandal called into question the ties between lobbyists and lawmakers.
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