During the first 100 legislative hours of the 110th Congress, House Democratic leaders have pledged to work with their colleagues to pass key measures affecting the everyday lives of all Americans. One of these is a series of proposals to clean up Washington and sever unethical ties between lawmakers and lobbyists. We will start by banning travel and gifts from lobbyists, requiring full transparency to end the abuse of special interest earmarks, and ending the abusive processes that have destroyed democracy in the House of Representatives. These measures are the first steps to ensure that this Congress upholds the highest ethical standards.
Americans are paying for the cost of corruption in Washington with skyrocketing prices at the pump, spiraling drug costs, and the waste, fraud and no-bid contracts in the Gulf Coast and Iraq, for Administration cronies like Halliburton.
Ethics and legal scandals plagued the Republican Congress - from the resignation of Reps. Tom DeLay and Duke Cunningham to the admission of illegal or improper conduct by Reps. Bob Ney and Mark Foley.
The cozy relationship between Congress and special interests has resulted in lobbying scandals, such as those involving Republican super lobbyist Jack Abramoff. In this scandal, former Rep. Bob Ney pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit fraud -- accepting all-expense-paid trips to play golf in Scotland and accepting meals, sports and concert tickets, while providing legislative favors for Abramoff's clients.
Republicans permitted a Congress in which lobbyists write the bills, 15-minute votes are held open for three hours, and entirely new legislation is crammed into signed conference reports in the dead of night.