A blog about Politics, Texas, and Academia

GOP: Just When You Think It Can’t Get Any Worse, It Does. Is It Time For Ethics Reform?

In Congress, news, Politics on August 1, 2007 at 11:10 pm

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Not that the Democrats are innocent of scandals but with all the hoopla lately about Republican Sen. Vitter and his Washington Madam and Sen. Ted Stevens and the raid on his home, one cannot stop and wonder if things can get any worse for the Republican party.

Read the story about the Republican woes in The Politico.

According to the Washington Post, the raid on Sen. Ted Stevens’ Alaskan home may lead to ethics reform. Democrat Chris Van Hollen is one of the lead sponsors lobbying for ethics reform.

From the Washington Post:

The bill, which has been blocked from the normal route of a House-Senate conference by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) over objections that it’s not strong enough on earmark reform, will be voted on today in the House. Then the same measure will be voted on later this week by the Senate. Despite complaints from critics it doesn’t go far enough in some areas, it is without question the most sweeping reform package since the Watergate era.

Specifically, the bill will ingrain a ban on gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers and staff; bars firms from hiring spouses or other immediate family of lawmakers to directly lobby their family member/congressman; denies federal pensions to members of Congress who are convicted of corruption charges related to official duties; requires congressional sponsors of earmarks, those provisions specifically inserted into bills to benefit a narrow interest, be fully identified 48 hours before legislation is voted on.

However, the bill unveiled this week does have one gaping loophole: staffers and members leaving the House won’t face a single new impediment moving through the revolving door to K Street. Former senators will face tougher restrictions when they depart Capitol Hill, with a new two-year cooling-off period that prohibits them from lobbying their former colleagues in the upper chamber for that entire time. That’s double the current one-year lobbying ban after departing the Senate.

Read the full story here.

Honestly I think something does need to be done. Neither party is squeaky clean but am I wrong by thinking that we have been conditioned to think of the GOP as the party with strict morals and values? It’s not that I approve of ill behavior or scandal from Democrats or expect anything different from them but Republicans have always been placed on this “moral and ethical” pedestal for me.

It’s bad enough that Americans view politicians, lawyers, and the media as some of the most unethical professions in our nation but leaders such as Sen. Ted Stevens don’t help the situation by continuing to exemplify this behavior. By the way, you know things are bad for the GOP when their own party members are ticked off. 😮

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