CNN: Tester failed to follow through on ethics pledge

A new report from CNN has found that Senator Jon Tester failed to follow through on the ethics pledge he made the center of his 2006 campaign against incumbent Conrad Burns.

From the CNN report:

“I’ll end secret meetings with lobbyists. At the end of every business day, I will post a list of every in-office meeting that I or my staff has had with a lobbyist,” Tester pledged in 2006.

But a review of archived versions of Tester’s Senate website shows that while he did post his own meetings, no staff meetings were ever posted – which an expert noted would leave out most of the crucial work being done on legislation by special interest groups.

“The staffers are the ones collecting all the information in the beginning, trying to understand all the issues so that they can brief their boss in the first place, and that requires extensive meetings with the lobbyists, typically,” said Kedric Payne, the vice president of Campaign Legal Center, a non-partisan ethics and campaign watchdog group.

Payne added that the relationships between congressional staffers and lobbyists are “very close” – lobbyists provide expertise to staffers, who give lobbyists a way to advocate for their clients.