Monday, June 06, 2005

"The DeLay Effect"

"GOP Worries Ethics Issues May Hurt Party in '06" trumpets today's Mike Allen headline in the Washington Post. Quoting strategists and others, Allen writes "House Republicans have begun to fear that public attention to members' travel and relations with lobbyists will make ethics a potent issue that could cost the party seats in next year's midterm races."

Indeed, ethics should be a potent issue in next year's campaign, and in every election. Public scrutiny of travel by our elected representatives is a good thing - it would be nice to know when lobbyists or interest groups or foreign governments are picking up the tab for our elected representatives to jaunt around the world, whether they come home and push legislation backed by the trip's funders or not.

If Republicans are really worried about ethics being an issue next fall, the leadership ought to support and push for a vote on legislation introduced earlier this year that would place stricter limits on lobbyist-funded trips and would increase transparency by requiring stricter disclosure rules and mandating larger fines for violations. Members ought to 'fess up and take the heat for their past trangressions, and just hope that voters don't turn them out on their tails (although frankly a good round of that probably wouldn't be bad for the country).

This isn't a partisan issue, this is a good government issue.


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