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HOUSE PASSES SHAM ETHICS REFORM

 
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User ID: 67500
United States
05/04/2006 01:09 AM
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HOUSE PASSES SHAM ETHICS REFORM
thinkprogress.org/2006/05/03/house-sham-ethics/ [link to thinkprogress.org]


BREAKING: House Passes Sham Ethics Reform


House conservatives just passed their lobbying reform bill by a narrow 217-213 [link to clerk.house.gov] vote. The Washington Post called the legislation a “sham,” “diluted snake oil” and “an insult to voters.” [link to www.washingtonpost.com] Instead of the comprehensive reform promised by lawmakers [link to www.americanprogressaction.org] in early 2006, this bill fails to reform parts of the system most in need.

A look at what this bill is missing: [link to thinkprogress.org]


– No Restrictions on Lavish Gifts: Current gift limits will remain unchanged. [link to www.washingtonpost.com]

– No Ban on Free Exotic Trips: Lawmakers will still be able to accept lavish privately-funded trips [link to www.commoncause.org] from lobbyists.

– No Increase in Lobbyist Transparency: Lobbyists can continue to pay $25,000 or $50,000 for a campaign fundraiser, with no oversight. [link to www.usatoday.com]

– No Ethics Training for Members: Ethics training will be mandatory for all congressional staff, but not for members.

– No Revolving Door Slow-Down: A companion piece of legislation to the lobbying bill would require administration officials to wait at least two years after they leave office before becoming lobbyists. But there is no legislation [link to www.thehill.com] to create a similar two-year waiting period for lawmakers.

– No Grassroots Lobbying Regulation: There are no disclosure rules [link to www.commoncause.org] “for professional lobbying firms that are retained to spend money on campaigns aimed at stimulating the public to lobby Congress, including multimillion dollar advertising campaigns.”

– No Enforcement of Existing Rules: The bill “includes no mechanism for enforcing and monitoring [link to www.commondreams.org] old and new rules.”

– Weak Earmark Reform: The bill restricts appropriations earmarks, but does not reform earmarks in tax and authorization bills. [link to www.chron.com]


Posted by Think Progress [link to thinkprogress.org] May 3, 2006 5:47 pm


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