Boosts Transparency of Congress' Fundraising, Lobbying and Travel
Aug 02 2007
Tough, sweeping ethics reforms won the full support of Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) who joined a bipartisan majority of the Senate to approve, 83-14, the “Honest Leadership and Open Government Act” (S.1) on Thursday.
“Americans have reminded us that they expect Members of Congress to uphold the highest ethical and legal standards at all times, ” Sen. Carper said. “We have answered their call to clean up Washington by passing the most sweeping ethics and lobbying reform in generations.”
The ethics and lobbying reform passed today will:
· clearly identify, for the first time ever, who requests federal funding of projects and programs in appropriations bills;
· slow the “revolving door” for former senators and their staff who become lobbyists;
· enforce lobbying disclosures on gifts, travel and campaign contributions;
· prohibit staff contact with lobbyists who are family members of their own congressional member;
· strip House and Senate members convicted of public corruption, such as bribery and perjury, of taxpayer funded pensions.
In anticipation of the passage of this ethics reform legislation, the Senate Appropriations Committee already instituted two new disclosure requirements for the current appropriations cycle.
First, the appropriations subcommittees have included a complete list of earmarks in each committee-passed bill, and have listed the name of the member or members requesting the earmark.
Second, the appropriations committee requires each congressional member certify in writing that they receive no personal financial benefit from the earmarks requested.
The legislation has been praised by a number of Washington watchdog groups for changing the way business is done in Washington and for moving toward a cleaner Congress.
Earlier this week, the House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 411 to 18. It now goes to the President for his signature.