LOBBYING ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY ACT OF 2006 -- (House of Representatives - May 03, 2006)
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Mr. HULSHOF. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the trust and confidence the chairman has put in me and allowed me a few moments here today, and I rise in opposition to the motion to recommit.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak to the larger point, because my soul is in torment. I think that we have turned the clock back to 1996 and 1997, when the entire ethics process was so politicized, where one side would file a complaint against a Member on the opposing side and then that side would file a complaint against a Member on the initiating side.
I resent the fact when you have privileged resolutions and Special Order speeches that Members of this body would single out the misdeeds or even criminal actions of a few and seek to indict or tarnish an entire party. I resent that.
I stood at that very spot a couple of years ago and was charged as an Ethics Committee member to prosecute one of our colleagues who had committed crimes of corruption, and the Chamber was full like it is, and this body had a very weighty decision, and that was shall we expel our colleague from Ohio. We did with one dissenting vote, and it never crossed my mind that I would take that incident in any sort of short-term political gain and to try to label everyone in Mr. Traficant's party as a culture of corruption.
I am troubled by the fact of what we read in the newspaper. It pains me because I know these individuals that these headlines are written about, and yet I believe that the short-term effort political gain is tarnishing the long-term goodwill of this institution.
Is the desire for political gain so powerful that Members are willing to indict an entire party? Is that recognition of short-term political gain, do you recognize how irreparably we are harming this institution?
The American people deserve a functioning ethics process; the American people deserve what our conscience demands; and, God willing, we will disappoint neither.
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