What is the Political Intelligence Disclosure Act?


General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Brian Baird, PhD, US Representative (D-WA) and Louise M. Slaughter, MS, US Representative (D-NY), sponsors of the Political Intelligence Disclosure Act (H.R. 5617), in their joint Mar. 13, 2008 press release "Reps. Slaughter and Baird Introduce Bill to Regulate Political Intelligence Gathering," presented the following:

"In an effort to shed light on the way the political intelligence community does business, Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY-28), Chairwoman of the House Rules Committee, and Congressman Brian Baird (D-WA-03) today introduced the Political Intelligence Disclosure Act, a bill that requires political intelligence firms to disclose their clients, profits, and activities, in the same way that lobbyists are required to do under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995...

The Political Intelligence Disclosure Act was inspired by legislation Reps. Slaughter and Baird introduced in the 109th and 110th Congresses that prohibits Members of Congress and federal employees from profiting from nonpublic information they obtained from their official positions. The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or STOCK Act, contains a provision that requires greater disclosure by the growing 'political intelligence' industry.

The Political Intelligence Disclosure Act is intended to provide information on an industry that has thus far operated largely in secret and without controls. The bill will amend the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 to require that political intelligence firms and consultants register with the House and the Senate and disclose of their activities in the same manner that lobbyists currently do. These requirements include registering within 45 days of being employed, disclosing client and employer information, and identifying issues and legislation lobbied for. A political intelligence firm would be required to satisfy these disclosure requirements if it gathers legislative information on behalf of a client for use in analyzing securities or commodities markets or informing investment decisions.

The Baird-Slaughter bill also includes an exception for members of the media who gather political intelligence for press purposes. The bill includes language that states that 'political intelligence contact' does not include a communication that is made by or to the media if the purpose of communication is gathering and disseminating news and information to the public."


Mar. 13, 2008 - Press Release, "Reps. Slaughter and Baird Introduce Bill to Regulate Political Intelligence Gathering" (95KB)  
Full text of the Political Intelligence Disclosure Act (H.R. 5617) (76KB)  
Louise M. Slaughter, MS 
Brian Baird, PhD 

THOMAS, the Library of Congress' legislative information website, offered the following summary (accessed June 6, 2008) of the Political Intelligence Disclosure Act (H.R. 5617):

"Political Intelligence Disclosure Act - Amends the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (LDA) to require the disclosure of political intelligence activities.

Requires political intelligence consultants to register with the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives, and make quarterly reports on political intelligence activities.

Requires any person or entity that makes an oral political intelligence contact with a covered legislative branch or executive branch official on the official's request to: (1) state whether such person or entity is registered under this Act; (2) identify the client on behalf of whom the contact is made; and (3) state whether such client is a foreign entity, and make any related disclosures.

Requires any person making a written political intelligence contact with a covered legislative branch or executive branch official to make similar disclosures, especially about clients considered foreign entities."


June 6, 2008 - THOMAS