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 TomPaine.com, giving the House and Senate credit for their efforts to date on lobbying and ethics reform, but urging they go further still.

 

Central to Holman's proposal for further efforts on behalf of ethics, are increased lobbying disclosure by corporate entities, and an independent agency charged with overseeing the lobbying reforms passed to date as well as any new ones:

 

In fact, Speaker Pelosi’s promise requires that she carry the mantle of reform a little further by requiring for-profit businesses to disclose their funding of so-called “grassroots lobbying campaigns,” just as most non-profit organizations must already disclose to the IRS.

Most importantly, the speaker must also create an independent enforcement agency that will ensure compliance with all of the above. Currently, enforcement responsibilities are dispersed among a crippling number of offices and committees, all of which are subservient to members and lack the public’s trust.

 

With new revelations coming out about not only the Jack Abramoff scandal -- I guess he's cooperating nicely from his jail cell -- but other allegations of corruption among our lawmakers perhaps there will be fresh energy in the House and Senate to advance additional reform proposals up to and including full public financing of congressional elections.