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Public Statements

Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, the majority leader asked unanimous consent to bring the ethics bill to the floor. He filled the tree, limiting amendments. I wish to spend a minute talking about that.

I honestly believe we are never going to have the problems fixed in Washington until we have absolute and complete transparency on earmarks. Senator DeMint and I have both, numerous times, asked for unanimous consent that what we voted on 96 to 0 in the Senate be the order of the day when it comes to transparency on earmarks. That was rejected. We had a Democratic conference, and what we actually did--and I am not saying this partisanly at all; this is not a partisan issue--but what we did is gutted the transparency portion of the earmark reform. If you think the problems are going to stop with the ethics bill that is going to be coming up, we have another thought coming.

What the leadership has done, the majority leader along with those in the other body, they have cleaned the outside of the cup to what looks like is a good deal for the American public, but when you look over the edge of the cup, what you see is filth, what you see is a lack of integrity, what you see is a planned method to skirt transparency. The only thing Americans should believe is the only way they are going to know everything is on the up and up in this body is with 100 percent transparency. Anything less than that will not get you the accountability, will not solve the ethical problems that are out there. We need to be about that.

I am going to work hard to talk about that more. I think it is uncompromising what we are seeing done at this time to pull the wool over the eyes of the American people when it comes to earmarks. That is not a partisan issue. I am against earmarks, especially if they are not 100 percent transparent. But if you look at every ethical lapse that has happened in this body, it always goes back to earmarks. When they are transparent, and fully transparent to where the American people can see it, you are going to start getting good Government again. Until then, you are not.

I yield the floor.

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