WASHINGTON - April 27 - The following is a statement of Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer opposing rule on Sham Lobbying and Ethics Bill:
The House Rules Committee has reported an indefensible rule to govern House floor consideration of an indefensible bill, H.R. 4975.
The rule on H.R. 4975 should be opposed by every Representative who supports real lobbying and ethics reform.
If the rule on H.R. 4975 passes, every Representative who opposes sham, fraudulent legislation should vote against H.R. 4975 on final passage.
H.R. 4975 is an effort to fool the public into believing that Representatives are responding to the corruption and lobbying scandals in the House, when the bill fails to effectively address these scandals and the numerous ethics and lobbying problems facing the House.
Under the Rules Committee's proposed rule, there is no way for Members to even vote on the amendments that are essential to turn this completely phony ''reform'' legislation into an acceptable bill.
The Rules Committee in reporting the rule for H.R. 4975, for example, refused to make in order and allow Members to even vote on critical amendments to:
-- Establish an Office of Public Integrity in Congress to assist the House Ethics Committee in enforcing the House ethics rules;
-- Require that Members pay charter costs for company planes made available by corporations and others for Members' travel;
-- Ban gifts to Members, including payments to finance parties to "honor" or recognize Members at the national conventions;
-- Require lobbyists to disclose to the public the various ways in which they provide campaign funds and financial benefits to assist Members;
-- Require disclosure of the huge sums being secretly spent by professional lobbying firms and lobbying organizations on grassroots campaigns to stimulate lobbying of Congress by the public, including multimillion dollar advertising campaigns; and
-- Curb the revolving door by increasing the period of time during which former Members are prohibited from lobbying their former colleagues.
Any Representative who votes for the rule on H.R. 4975 or for this legislation should be treated as supporting the corrupt status quo in the House.
The pro-reform vote here is "no" on the rule and "no" on H.R. 4975.