The Campaign for a Cleaner Congress
Campaign for a Cleaner Congress works to expose how corporate lobbying has corrupted our democratic system, and to explain how simple reforms can get Americans the cleaner Congress they deserve – starting with an independent counsel to investigate House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s reign of corruption.
We represent constituents around the country who are upset with the representation they are getting in Congress. Important issues that face everyday Americans—Social Security, health care coverage, funding for education, clean air and water, and good-paying jobs—are getting ignored while ethical scandals have led the current Congress to think it can get away with anything.
We believe these ethics scandals threaten our democracy. Our democratic form of government depends on honest representatives in Congress who will look out for their constituents and provide solutions to these problems. But Congressional leaders have given in to temptation and begun accepting free trips from well-heeled corporate lobbyists in violation of their own rules; trading campaign donations to assure everyone will look the other way; and for seven years, agreeing not to file ethics complaints against each other.
Congress clearly can no longer police itself. The House Ethics Committee is broken because its members have already accepted contributions from DeLay’s political action committee. In America, you’re not supposed to be able to buy your own jury. It’s time for the monkey business to end.
The remedy starts with an independent investigation of the freebies and secret deals that have flourished under House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
Beyond the current crisis, we believe Congress should clean up its act for good with these five steps to a cleaner Congress:
1. INSPECTOR GENERAL – Disband the broken House Ethics Committee and give the toothless Inspector General for Congress the independence and authority to investigate Members’ ethical abuses, starting with Tom DeLay and his web of influence.
2. NO SECRETS – Require Congress members to post details of all meetings they have with lobbyists on a web site, so their constituents can find out who’s asking for what favors.
3. NO FREEBIES – Ban all freebie trips and gifts for Congress members and their families.
4. REAL-TIME REPORTING – Post financial disclosure forms and office spending reports on the Internet immediately so it’s easy to tell how Congress is spending your money.
5. ALL LOBBYISTS REGISTER – Close the lobbyist registration loopholes by requiring everyone who is paid to ask the government for favors for big corporations to register, so their activities can be tracked for you to know about.
Campaign for a Cleaner Congress is also working with numerous groups whose long-standing concern for ethics in Congress have helped put this issue at the forefront of the American agenda.