7/8/14 Ethics Loophole

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Members of Congress are required to file campaign, financial and ethics disclosures.  So the public can review them. To make-up their mind if an elected official is influenced by outside individuals or organizations.

For nearly 40 years, it’s been required that members of Congress must include on their public disclosure reports all free travel that is given to them.

Until now.

Earlier this year, the House Ethics Committee deleted this requirement.  It did so quietly.  Without any public notice.

This was a bipartisan effort. 

The House Ethics Committee is evenly divided with five Republicans and five Democrats.  Ethics Committee Chairman, Republican Mike Conaway of Texas, and Ranking Member, Democrat Linda Sanchez of California, both signed off on this unprecedented rule change.

It’s unlikely they did so without the prior approval of leadership in both parties. House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi no doubt approved of the change.

We often hear of divided government.  But when it comes to special favors and perks, the two parties work hand-in-hand.

Another example is Congressional leadership PACs.  They are unregulated slush funds that have no rules on how money is spent.  Even on jewelry, entertainment, exotic vacations and exorbitant salaries to family members.

Both parties use them.  And don’t want the public to know about them.  Watch our report from last year on leadership PACs.

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