In recent years, it became very clear to all Americans that the ethical safeguards in our nation's capital were broken. That is why at the beginning of the 110th Congress, long overdue rules were adopted to bring enhanced ethics, transparency, and accountability to the House of Representatives. For too long, lobbyists like Jack Abramoff were allowed to run amok, leaving behind a vast web of corruption in their wake, compromising responsible government.
Issue Position: Ethics Reform
H. Res. 6 prevents lobbyists from buying access and favor from lawmakers. While they will still retain their constitutional right to petition government and share valuable information, they will no longer be allowed to buy meals, give gifts, or provide lavish trips. Further, corporate officials will no longer be able to buy exclusive access by offering the service of their private jets to members of the House of Representatives. On January 5, 2006, the House passed these commonsense reforms by a vote of 232 to 200. I was pleased to vote in favor of these important reforms.
I was also proud to support the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007, H.R. 2316. This bill would end the pay-to-play schemes like the "K Street project" by requiring greater disclosure of lobbyist contributions to members' charities or business entities and establishing a public database of member travel and personal financial disclosure forms. The bill also would double civil penalties and establish new criminal penalties for violations. The House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 2316 on May 24, 2007.