Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Pelosi Calls For New Ethical Standards

Pelosi: American People Are Paying the Price for Erosion of Ethical Standards

Washington, D.C. - House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Congressman George Miller of California, Chair of the Democratic Policy Committee, held a news conference in the Capitol today to discuss the need for ethics reform in the House of Representatives, including an outright ban on gifts from lobbyists to Members of Congress. Below are Pelosi's remarks:

"We're here to talk about setting a new ethical standard for the House of Representatives. When I came to my position as House Democratic Leader, I brought my strong credential as one who served on the Ethics Committee for six years and then a seventh year as a member of the bi-partisan task force, which rewrote the ethics rules.

"The American people want, they expect, and indeed they deserve, Congress to function in a way that meets a high ethical standard. I do not believe that that is the case now.

"A high ethical standard is its own reason for being. It's the right thing to do. When the erosion of that ethical standard has an impact on public policy, the American people pay the price. They pay the price at the pump when energy lobbyists write the energy bill, they pay a high price for medicine when the pharmaceutical industry helps write the prescription drug bill, and they pay a high price when the Congress of the United States serves the special interest and not the public interest.

"I'm here as House Democratic Leader today to talk about a new ethical standard for the House of Representatives, which will remove all doubt in the public's mind as to who we are here to serve. The public is our boss. We are here in the public interest, not to be the handmaidens of the special interests.

"Democrats are setting forth the new ethical standard containing these six principles:

* Ban Members from accepting any gifts from lobbyists.

* Ban Members from secretly working with corporate lobbyists to write legislation.

* Ban lobbying by Members of Congress and high level staff for two years after leaving Congress.

* Enforce the ban on Members and staff soliciting privately-funded travel.

* Ban lobbyists from arranging and financing travel.

* End the 'K Street Project' - ban Members and staff from threatening lobbyists with official actions.

"Some of these provisions are already in the excellent Meehan-Emmanuel Bill, which is being introduced today. All of them will uphold a high ethical standard in the House of Representatives.

"It is no longer acceptable to just talk about ethics reform and restoring integrity to the legislative process. We must do something about it, and we must do it now."


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