(lack of) Ethics in Government

Dear Mr. ****

Thank you for contacting me to express your support for comprehensive congressional ethics reform.  I am pleased we agree on this important issue.

Like you, I am deeply troubled by the many allegations of unethical behavior in congress.  I consider it an extraordinary honor to represent my constituents, and I am deeply pained because he allegations damaged both the reputations of the individual members and the Congress as a whole.

As the 109th Congress, Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi introduced legislative transparency and accountability act to make logging practices more transparent and to make Senate rules more ethical.  Regarding lobbying practices, this bill would have prohibited senators and age from accepting meals or drinks from registered lobbyists.  You also have required lobbyist to disclose their activities, campaign contributions, and pass government implement and to make these reports available to the public online.  Regarding Senate rules, this bill would have required former members of Congress to wait two years after logging their former colleagues, and would have strengthened accountability and disclosure standards for privately funded congressional trips.  Tables require conference reports to be available online for 48 hours and would have created a mechanism to remove last-minute earmarks inserted in the dark night.

I'm pleased to inform you that I took an active role in the debate on this bill.  I was able to secure passage of an amendment to in the undemocratic practice of "secret holes" in the Senate, a practice used by senators to walk legislation or autonomously, often at the behest of well funded industry lobbyists.  Although I supported additional reforms or not adopted by the Senate-such as creation of an independent office of public integrity-I felt this bill was a solid step toward a more democratic and ethical Congress.  That's why voted with a majority my Senate colleagues to ensure passage.

Because the House of Representatives passed its own ethical bill, the two competing bills were sent to a  conference committee work out the differences. Unfortunately the hundred 9th, and Congress adjourned before agreeing to the final offers report.  As the Senate considers it ethical reforms and hundred 10th Congress, I will keep your views mine.


Thank you again for keeping the appraised of issues inform you if I may be of further assistance, please don't hesitate to contact me in the future.

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