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Most Corrupt Members of Congress

The Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has released their seventh annual Most Corrupt report, highlighting the most corrupt members of Congress. This year's report names "19 members of Congress – 14 members whose actions violated the law or who otherwise engaged in serious misconduct, and five others whose lack of regard for the rules earned them a dishonorable mention."

ETHICS COMPLAINT FILED: CREW alleges lawmakers who played hookie from swearing-in to attend fundraiser on Capitol grounds violated law, House rules

The Washington Post reports that Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has filed an ethics complaint against the two lawmakers who missed their swearing-in for the 112th Congress while attending a fundraiser, contending, among other things, that the two congressmen violated federal law and House rules by holding a fundraiser in the Capitol.

I solemnly raise money

News broke today that two House members, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) and freshman Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), may not have actually been properly sworn in to the House yesterday. They were at the Capitol Visitors Center--and just holding up your right hand while watching it on TV may not do the trick.

Defense Lobbying Firm Probe to Go Public?

The Wall Street Journal reports that the House of Representatives voted to force the ethics committee to report on what, if any, actions have been taken in a federal probe of PMA Group, a now-defunct defense lobbying firm and a senior House Democrat.


According to the article, the vote referred the resolution to the ethics committee, which must independently approve it before it takes effect.


Obama announces ethics rules for transition

President-elect Barack Obama and the new Congress have an ambitious agenda come January. And those industries that donated the $5 billion to 2008 candidates will want to make sure their voices are heard.

On Tuesday, Obama's transition team laid out an ethics plan that should assure some voters on the power of lobbyists in his administration.


From The Hill:

Outsider Ethics

In a move both symbolically significant and indicative of a grudging willingness to change, the House of Representatives has voted to create an independent ethics office composed of six nonpartisan officials tasked with fielding ethics allegations and reporting out to the public on what allegations have merit.

With an eye towards the public mandate to do something about corruption on which this Congress was elected, the House has taken another step forwards towards scrubbing out Jack Abramoff's footprints on the Capitol steps:

Catch Up, Senate

The Senate has some 'splaining to do for lagging behind their counterparts in the House on two important ethics bills. The New York Times chides them for dragging their heels. While the House has voted in favor of banning the use of campaign contributions to pay spouses of House candidates, and files campaign finance disclosure reports electronically the Senate has approved neither of these simple, sensible reforms.

The Doughnut Dilemma

Here's what happens on Capitol Hill when you change the rules but not the game: a bunch of lobbyists and their legal advisors get together to hammer out a policy on tuna sandwiches. As new lobbying regulations go in to effect cutting into the lavish dinners and other events lobbyists had previously held to woo members of Congress, they're putting their heads together to find all the loopholes.

Ethics Bill Becomes Law

On Friday, President Bush signed into law the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 (S. 1)--one of the most sweeping ethics and lobbying reform bills in decades. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) said the bill was "the most sweeping ethics reform since Watergate."


Equal Enforcement?

We're not the only ones questioning McConnell's track record today. USA Today is wondering about his...uneven...enforcement of ethics policies among his Senate Republicans. They focus in particular on McConnell's quick shunning of Sen. Larry Craig but much lighter treatment of Sen. Ted Stevens, even as the corruption probe surrounding the former heats up.