* Ethics reform
I am an original cosponsor of H.R. 4682, a bill drafted by the Democratic leadership of the House that would enact stricter guidelines for ethical conduct. The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2006 would tighten gift and travel rules; bar the practice of adding special interest provisions in the dead of night; toughen public disclosure of lobbying activities; mandate public disclosure of earmark sponsorship; extend the lobbying ban to two years; and prohibit cronyism and contracting abuses. The bill would also establish the House Office of Public Integrity to audit and investigate compliance with the new regulations.
This legislation cannot undo the harm that corrupt politicians like those who did Jack Abramoff's bidding have inflicted, but it can make a statement that this conduct will not be tolerated. In the past year the House leadership has been plagued with scandal in some of this country's highest offices and this is unacceptable.