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Dr. Coburn Disappointed New Ethics Bill Eviscerates Earmark Reform


Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement today regarding the "Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007."

"Rather than opening the secret chambers of government to the public, this new Congress has opted to change the locks. This bill, which was negotiated in secret, guts key earmark reforms that both houses of Congress approved overwhelmingly. Unfortunately, this process shows that Congress's 28 percent approval rating is well-deserved," Dr. Coburn said.

"The problem in Washington is not lobbyists, but members of Congress. This bill solves the wrong problem and creates new ways to hide earmarks. For example, it is ludicrous to give the Majority Leader of either party, not the objective Senate parliamentarian, new unilateral powers to police earmarks. It is also obscene that the Senate gutted a key reform preventing senators from directing earmarks to family members. The new language mirrors existing Senate rules which have done nothing to prevent these serious conflicts of interest," Dr. Coburn said.

"In the last election, the American people said they wanted the earmark favor factory to be shut down, not turned over to new management. As our Republican majority learned, breaking promises has consequences. Congress first broke its promise to impose an earmark moratorium by offering 32,000 earmarks. Now Congress has signaled its determination to continue the secretive earmark favor factory," Dr. Coburn said.

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