GOP Preserves the Strict Ethics Rules for the 112th Congress

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GOP Preserves the Strict Ethics Rules for the 112th Congress

Statement of Craig Holman, Government Affairs Lobbyist, Public Citizen

WASHINGTON - Public Citizen heartily applauds incoming House Speaker John Boehner
(R-Ohio) for preserving all the strict congressional ethics rules
approved under the previous Democratic-controlled Congress. These ethics
rules include: The ban on gifts from lobbyists and lobbying
organizations to members of Congress and their staff; the restrictions
on privately-sponsored travel to no more than one-day trips (two days,
if necessary), all of which have to be pre-approved by the ethics
committee and the travel itineraries posted on the Internet, and, most
important, keeping intact the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), an
outside agency that monitors compliance to the ethics rules.

Earlier, we sent Boehner a letter expressing concern that the new
Republican majority might attempt to weaken the ethics rules on Jan. 5.
We have since learned that no such effort is in the making. In fact, the
GOP package of proposed House rules released this morning add some very
notable improvements in transparency and ethics, requiring that bills
be publicly available on the Internet for 72 hours prior to a vote,
calling for Web-casting of most committee proceedings and banning former
members from lobbying their colleagues in the House gym.

The new rules package marks a strong beginning for incoming Speaker
Boehner and the 112th Congress. Public Citizen looks forward to working
with the new Congress to bolster the ethical standards of Congress even
further by strengthening ethics rules where needed and vesting OCE with
the authority to mandate witnesses and the production of evidence in its
investigations.

 To read Public Citizen's original letter to incoming Speaker Boehner on strengthening the ethics rules, go to: http://www.citizen.org/Page.aspx?pid=2493.

 To read the proposed new rules package for the 112th Congress, go to: http://www.citizen.org/documents/112-Hres5-CP20101223.pdf.

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Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts.

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