Obama Statement on Senate's vote Against Creating An Independent Ethics Enforcement Mechanism
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today issued the following statement about the Senate's failure to pass an amendment that would create an independent Office of Public Integrity to help enforce Congressional ethics rules:
"I still believe that if we want to restore the American people's faith in government, we must show them that we're willing to accept an independent ethics enforcement mechanism that will generate confidence in how Congress operates," said Senator Obama. "We can pass all the ethics reforms we want - gift bans, travel bans, lobbying restrictions - but none of them will make a significant difference if there isn't a nonpartisan, independent office that will help us enforce those laws."
Previously, Obama had called for a nonpartisan, independent Congressional Ethics Enforcement Commission. The Commission would be staffed with former judges and former members of Congress, and it would allow any citizen to report a possible ethics violation by lawmakers, staff, or lobbyists. The Commission would have the authority to conduct investigations, issue subpoenas, and provide public reports to the Senate Ethics Committee or Department of Justice so that any wrongdoing can be punished accordingly.