Congresswoman Solis Unveils "Honest Leadership, Open Government" Reform Package to Protect Public Trust

By:  Hilda Solis
Date: Jan. 18, 2006
Location: Washington, DC

January 18, 2006

Congresswoman Solis Unveils "Honest Leadership, Open Government" Reform Package to Protect Public Trust

Washington, D.C. - Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis returned to Washington today to join House and Senate Democrats in unveiling the "Honest Leadership, Open Government" Act, an aggressive reform package to reverse Republican excesses and protect the public trust.

"Republican-controlled Washington has become infected with a Culture of Corruption, and the American people are paying the price," said Congresswoman Solis. "While Republicans reward the wealthy and special interests, the priorities of the American people go unaddressed. That is why Democrats are offering real reforms to clean up Washington."

Congresswoman Solis unveiled the "Honest Leadership, Open Government" Act in the historic Great Hall at the Library of Congress, where Members of Congress were joined by an audience of groups working to protect the public trust and force Congress to focus on the priorities of the American people.

The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act will focus reforms on four key areas.

* It will close the revolving door between government and K Street lobbying firms by strengthening the ban on lobbying by former Members of Congress and senior government officials after they leave to work in the private sector, and require lawmakers to disclose when they are negotiating private-sector jobs to shine the light on conflicts of interest.
* It will fix the gift and travel rules that allowed the Jack Abramoffs of the world to buy Republican influence in Congress, ensuring that legislation will never again be written in smoky back rooms by industry lobbyists.
* It will put an end to the K Street project, in which Republicans have limited political access to corporations and lobbying firms who hire Republicans and contribute heavily to Republican campaigns.
* It will increase accountability in government, and allow the public to see exactly what their elected representatives are doing in Washington.

The cost of corruption in Republican-run Washington is felt by American families everyday in Southern California as they try to heat their homes and send their kids to college. While seniors struggle with a confusing and poorly implemented prescription drug program and middle-class families desperately try to pay higher bills with lower wages, special interests reap rewards and giveaways. By creating laws that provide billions to Big Oil, a multibillion dollar slush fund for the pharmaceutical industry and allow friends like Halliburton to receive no-bid contracts, Republicans in Washington have made it clear that their corruption has no bounds.

House Democrats returned to Washington for an issues conference this week, as Republican leaders delayed the return of Congress until January 31, in hopes that former Majority Leader Tom DeLay's could finish his trial in Texas for campaign money laundering and return as their leader.

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