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Two Steps Forward or Three Steps Back?

With President Bush still mulling over whether to sign the lobbying and ethics reform bill passed by Congress, there are those who are lauding legislative efforts to thwart corruption, and those lamenting that those laws need to be written in the first place.

Jack Markowitz opens his column in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review with the following:

Jefferson Update

Looks like the House Ethics Committee investigation of Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) will be postponed until his after he heads to court in January to face indictment on 16 counts including soliciting bribes, money laundering, obstruction of justice, wire fraud, conspiracy, and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, to avoid "interfering with the criminal prosecution and related ongoing investigation."

You're Not...Serious? Are You?

Please "Hammer," Don't Hurt 'Em

Help, I'm pinned under about a ton of irony: indicted former Rep. Tom DeLay is participating in a panel discussion on campaign tactics and ethics. All of you aspiring to a political career marked by corrupting greed and resignation in disgrace, mark your calendars.

House Repairs

Craig Holman of Public Citizen takes the temperature of Speaker of House Nancy Pelosi's promise to preside over "the cleanest Congress in history" in his article at, giving the House and Senate credit for their efforts to date on lobbying and ethics reform, but urging they go further still.


What Was That About Corruption?

Though 42% of voters last November said corruption was one of their top issues when casting their ballot, the Senate still failed to pass legislation yesterday that would have tightened regulations surrounding ethics and lobbying reform.


After a long day and some backroom maneuvering the bill went down without a vote late last night.


Old Habits Die Hard

Saying they will crack down on lobbyists, then raising money from them the same night? It's a mixed message from the newly minted 110th Congress, something NBC notes in this story (story and video clip) on Congress' new ethics bill, with commentary from Public Campaign Action Fund's David Donnelly.


House Unveils Ethics Reforms

It's the first day of the 110th Congress and Democratic leaders in the House are rolling out their big ethics reform package designed to sever links between lobbyists and lawmakers with new restrictions inclusing a ban on travel, meals, and gifts to legislators paid for by lobbyists. It's a very good start, and we hope a prelude to serious consideration of full public financing of elections as the last step in "draining the swamp" and cleaning up Congress.

Before the Clock Strikes Twelve

With their plan to make lobbying reform a priority once they take control of Congress, Democrats are looking to take advantage of a national mood that wants action on corruption, but before they get crazy with reform they're taking all the lobbyist money they can get their hands on, according to the Wall Street Journal. Is that like having one last piece of cake before you go on a diet?


How About a Little Ambition

The Democrats are working out the particulars of the ethics legislation they will roll out in January, and while some members of Congress seem resistant to change, others argue that the proposals on the table don't do nearly enough. I'd have to agree.