Measures to be introduced at Monday night’s city council meeting would require local lobbyists to disclose more information and create public financing for city campaigns. The bills come prior to the June primary election.
The first bill—sponsored by District One Councilman Zeke Cohen—would require lobbyists to file quarterly reports saying who they are, who they work for, and how much they spent trying to influence lawmakers. The bill would also make reports available online for public viewing and create a new penalty for lobbyists that violate the ethics code repeatedly.
“Let me make this really clear this is not anti-lobbyists, it is pro-transparency," said Cohen.
The second bill—sponsored by District Eight Councilman Kristerfer Burnett—would use tax payer dollars to assist citizens who want to run for Baltimore City offices.
“This is a good investment in democracy that the citizens of Baltimore’s tax dollars are going to help its other citizens who have their interests at hand," said Burnett.
The bill, a charter amendment that would be put to the voters in November, would put aside approximately $1.8 million a year to match donations for two mayoral, three council president, and 30 city council candidates.
Both bills come in response to the case of former State Senator Nathaniel Oaks, a Baltimore Democrat who pleaded guilty last month to federal corruption charges. Oaks admitted to authorities that a lobbyist had paid for hotel rooms and airline tickets to Las Vegas.