Issue Position: Ethics
A New Way of Doing Business in Washington
Voters in Pennsylvania and those across the nation sent a message in 2006 that they wanted to see a new way of doing business in Washington D.C. I am proud to report that from day one of this Congress we have been passing strong legislation to bring openness to government and the much higher ethical standards that our taxpayers deserve.
- Congressman Patrick J. Murphy
Creating an Independent Congressional Ethics Panel
Original cosponsor of the H.R. 1754, the "House Ethics Commission Establishment Act"
* Establishes an Independent Ethics Commission comprised of twelve Former Members of Congress (six Democrats and six Republicans) who are not registered lobbyists.
* The Ethics Commission will assume the role of investigators of conduct complaints against Members of the House of Representatives.
* Provides independent oversight.
Congressional Lobbying and Gift Reform
Voted for H.Res.6, Title II, passed January 4, 2007 as part of the "100 Hours Agenda"
* Bans gifts to members and staff from Lobbyists and the organizations that employ them.
* Bans lobbyist-funded travel junkets.
* Requires certification and pre-approval for travel paid by any outside group.
* Prohibits use of company planes used to provide favors and special lobbying access.
* Ends the K-street Project that used revolving-door jobs to pay off political cronies.
* Mandates ethics training for all Members of Congress and their staff.
* Curbs abuses of voting time for the purpose of "arm-twisting" to affect a vote outcome.
* Reforms conference committees to ensure open and honest participation by all Members of Congress.
Voted for H.R. 2316, the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, passed May 24, 2007
* Establishes an online, searchable public database of lobbyist information and requires lobbyists to disclose past executive branch and Congressional employment.
* Increases criminal and civil penalties for violating the Lobby Disclosure Act.
Voted for H.R. 2317, the Lobbying Transparency Act, passed May 24, 2007
* Expands transparency by requiring lobbyists who "bundle," or collect campaign checks for Members of Congress to meet strict disclosure guidelines.
Meaningful Earmark Reform
Voted for House Rules passed as part of the "100 Hours Agenda"
* Eliminates the practice of secretly inserting spending items into the federal budget.
* Requires Members of Congress to list their names next to their spending project requests.
* Prohibits trading of earmarks for votes.
* Requires Members and their spouses to certify they have no financial interest in earmarks.
* Restores Pay-As-You-Go Budgeting by requiring new spending to be offset by cuts elsewhere.
Original Cosponsor of H.Res.169 amending the House Rules, introduced February 15, 2007
* Makes a list of all earmarks available on the Internet in a searchable format to the general public for at least 48 hours before consideration.
Strengthening the Freedom of Information Act
Voted for H.R. 1309, passed May 14, 2007
* Provides for more timely disclosure of government documents in response to citizen requests.
* Creates a nongovernmental complaint investigator to expedite Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
* Imposes consequences on an agency for failing to respond within 20 days to a FOIA request.
* Strengthens enforcement provisions against officials who spuriously deny FOIA requests.
Whistleblower Protection for National Security Employees
Voted for H.R. 985, passed May 13, 2007
* Strengthens protections for federal whistleblowers to prevent retaliation against those who report wrongdoing, waste, fraud, or abuse to authorities.
Accountability in Public Contracting
Voted for H.R. 1362, passed May 15, 2007
* Requires agencies to minimize the use of no-bid contracts, limit the length of no-bid contracts, and justify why they did not require full and open bid competition.
* Requires agencies to minimize the use of "cost-plus" contracts.
* Implements mandatory public disclosure of contractor overcharges in excess of $1,000,000.
* Closes the "Revolving Door" between contracting officials and contractors.
Keeping our Leadership Honest
Voted for H.R. 2316, Honest Leadership and Open Government, passed May 24, 2007
* Requires sitting Members of Congress to disclose job negotiations for post-Congressional employment and to recuse themselves for purposes of a conflict of interest.
* Establishes an online, searchable public database of Member travel and personal financial disclosure forms.
Cosponsored H.R. 476, passed January 23, 2007
* Denies taxpayer-funded pension benefits to Members of Congress convicted of corruption while serving the American people.
Public Access to Historic Presidential Records
Voted for H.R. 1255, passed March 14, 2007
* Overturns President Bush's executive order allowing ex-presidents and vice-presidents to indefinitely delay the release of historical documents for reasons unrelated to national security.
* Requires an ex-President to personally restrict documents on basis of Executive Privilege, rather than delegating this job to his assistants, relatives, heirs, etc.
* Eliminates the Vice-President's ability to restrict documents on basis of Executive Privilege.