Lobbyists to ask congressional leaders to fully reopen halls of Congress, after two years away

About 10,500 lobbyists are officially registered to lobby Congress
K street

A major lobbying group is set Wednesday to hand deliver a letter to congressional leaders requesting they restore full access to the U.S. Capital complex to the tens of thousands registered lobbyists whose face time with members and their staffers has been drastically limited since the start of the pandemic, then the Jan. 6, 2021 riot.

The group, The National Institute for Lobbying and Ethics, said Monday that lobbyists, among them the roughly 10,500 now officially registered to lobby Congress, have essentially since the start of the roughly 2-year-old COVID-19 pandemic had to registered with a members' offices to make a specific visit and be escorted in, while reporters and others now roam the halls of Congress.

A group official told Just the News "no rationale" exists for such restrictions now that mask mandates and other COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted.  

American citizens, tour groups and others also have had their access to members and staffers limited since the pandemic and riot.

The total amount of lobbying spending last year was $3.73 billion, according to OpenSecrets.org.

While many complain about lobbyists' outsized influence, supporters argue they help members shape policy and legislation by providing them with insight about how industries, interest groups and other stakeholders will be impacted. 

Beyond concerns about the virus, Roll Call, which first reported about the letter, also reports the U.S. Capitol Police force is no longer sufficiently staffed to provide adequate security throughout the Capitol complex should pre-pandemic rules resume.   

Meanwhile, lobbyists, who before COVID also could bring clients to members’ offices, have since been conducting meetings at such places as eating clubs and via ZOOM.