Corrupt Congress Secretly Kills Rule Requiring Them To Disclose Free Trips From Lobbyists


In a private meeting, the House Ethics Committee secretly killed a decades-old rule that required members of Congress to disclose to the public trips they take that are paid for by lobbyists.

The rule, which had been in place since the post-Watergate ethic reforms, required members of the House to disclose any trips publicly that had been paid for by lobbyists.

The National Journal uncovered the change:

It’s going to be a little more difficult to ferret out which members of Congress are lavished with all-expenses-paid trips around the world after the House has quietly stripped away the requirement that such privately sponsored travel be included on lawmakers’ annual financial-disclosure forms.

The move made behind closed doors and without public announcement by the House Ethics Committee, reverses more than three decades of precedent. Gifts of free travel to lawmakers have appeared on the yearly financial form dating back its creation in the late 1970s, after the Watergate scandal. National Journal uncovered the deleted disclosure requirement when analyzing the most recent batch of yearly filings.

The tabs for these international excursions can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. One trip to Australia earlier this year cost nearly $50,000. Lawmakers are often invited to bring along their husbands or wives, fly in business class, and stay in plush four-star hotels. In the wake of the Abramoff scandal, lobbyists were banned from organizing or paying for these travels. But some of the nonprofits underwriting them today have extremely close ties to lobbying groups, including sharing staff, money, and offices.

The House Ethics Committee is different from other committees because it contains an equal number of Republicans and Democrats. This is a change that at least one Democrat on the committee had to agree to, but no one on either side is talking. There is no good reason of the Ethics Committee to reduce transparency, but that is exactly what they have done. Even worse, they were secretive about the change. The Ethics Committee met in private, and issued no public statement.

The rise of dark money in our post-Citizens United political landscape has made transparency nearly impossible. The House Ethics Committee has made it even more difficult to figure out who is buying your member of Congress. Hiding lavish trips from the people that they have sworn to represent is not behavior that encourages public trust. The ethics committee displayed an alarming lack of ethics by trying to keep the public in the dark.

The “People’s House” is anything but, unless by people they are referring to corporations, lobbyists, and millionaires, because they seem to be all that matters to the majority those serving in the House of Representatives.

30 Replies to “Corrupt Congress Secretly Kills Rule Requiring Them To Disclose Free Trips From Lobbyists”

  1. I am normally not a name-caller,
    but this is one time I will make
    an Xception.
    This is CRAZY!
    WTF are these slimy bastards trying
    to hide?
    The perks they receive for taking
    food out of the mouths of children,
    seniors, Veterans?
    The rewards they get for trying to
    strip us of our right to clean air
    to breath & clean water to drink?
    Where the hell is the ‘committee’ investigating THIS?

  2. Is our government as corrupt as the corporations? Yes.
    Is there any need for a lobbyist to treat our representatives to anything? No.

    Book em Danno. Force them to change it back

  3. Another example, that Congress is only interested in what they can get for themselves, from large corporations, lobbyists and big donors and have little or no interest in working for the average American and those in need. No wonder they only have a 7% approval rating.

  4. If your Congressman is on the Ethics committee remember this, and vote them out. One of them who voted no, should leak out the names of those who voted for this.

  5. Of course I am sure that all these “perks” are tax free as well. What a bunch of slime, and they don’t even care.

  6. Members
    K. Michael Conaway, Texas – Chairman
    Charles W. Dent, Pennsylvania
    Patrick Meehan, Pennsylvania
    Trey Gowdy, South Carolina
    Susan W. Brooks, Indiana
    Linda T. Sánchez, California – Ranking Member
    Pedro R. Pierluisi, Puerto Rico
    Michael E. Capuano, Massachusetts
    Yvette D. Clarke, New York
    Ted Deutch, Florida

  7. I think it’s about time we established some mechanism in this country whereby, upon collecting sufficient signatures, any issue could be added to the November ballot as a national referendum.

    Right now we’re faced with a Republican controlled Congress that refuses to act on virtually any significant issue despite overwhelming sentiment on the part of the people that they do something. Immigration, gun control, campaign finance reform, and infrastructure come to mind. There are countless others.

    In the rare instances when they do act, it’s to further hide what they’re actually doing behind a veil of secrecy as this post describes. Oh, and maybe they manage to rename a post office or two.

    If we can’t get rid of the obstructionists, at least maybe we could get something accomplished through the sheer will of the American people as expressed in the ballot box.

  8. Who on earth is surprised by this? The majority of Congress is no more than a bunch of corrupt bastards. Sadly, they just don’t care so much anymore about constituents. Wouldn’t we love to have a few honest-to-goodness statesmen running this dog and pony show?

  9. Can someone post their names and party so we can spread it far and wide who the crooks are? Write them and tell them they will never get your vote again. They all ought to be fined and brought to justice for doing this….and those that paid them!
    This is criminal!

  10. The GOP house always selects the most unethical members to be on the ethics committees.

    The GOP has already caused the USA a credit downgrade. Are they also trying to lower our number on the worldwide Corruption Perception Index?

  11. Here are the 2 who pushed the decision, “the statement was authorized by Ethics Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, and ranking Democrat Linda Sanchez, D-California.”, and here is the office to write and demand this decision be reversed.
    Write your congressman and demand they reverse the decision.

  12. It’s time for and overhaul of the House. All GOP and dirty Dems. They need to pass legislation to get rid of lobbyists. They aren’t acting in our best interests that’s for sure.

  13. Get the Blue Dog Dems out of there as well.

    Now it is our turn..the give all these obstructionists their job evaluation in November. A big fat F.

  14. the numbers are five Dem’s Five rethugs, so some Dem’s crossed the line to vote for this. These are the ones should be voted out. Dem’s who work with these rethugs are no better then the thugs.

  15. This gang of criminals show us more every day that we absolutely MUST

  16. They put it in their so-called “Ethics”; but still isn’t it a law that they have to disclose? It seems that by law the requirement still stands. They need to be charged criminally if they do not disclosed.


  17. Changing the “Ethics” in the House doesn’t stop it from still needing to obey the law, does it? By law they still need to disclose. Maybe it will be time for many of these nutjobs to sit in jail. They are obviously guilty about much, and it shouldn’t be all that hard to prove. Disclosure is still the law.


  18. They all are crooks and theirs and just out for themselves. That’s why we need term limits. New batch of crooks and liars every so often. None are worth their salary. They are arrogant and only vote is self interest and are bought by large corporations and self interest. They have had too many years of free reign and will not give up so many perks when they are not working to earn their pay. Stop using the term public servants they all are Self Serving idiots getting a free ride. Truly the land of the takers. That’s why they fight to get in there and stay in there. Money for nothing.

  19. Do not kid ourselves nothing this Ethics deficient Congress does quietly is suspicious, they are up to no good.

    To think, these are the same Congress members that screams about the lack of TRANSPARENCY in the current Administration.


    K. Michael Conaway, Texas – Chairman
    Charles W. Dent, Pennsylvania
    Patrick Meehan, Pennsylvania
    Trey Gowdy, South Carolina
    Susan W. Brooks, Indiana

    Linda T. Sánchez, California – Ranking Member
    Pedro R. Pierluisi, Puerto Rico
    Michael E. Capuano, Massachusetts
    Yvette D. Clarke, New York
    Ted Deutch, Florida

    If you go to the page there is a link for each of them.

  21. because HOUSE rules are created by the HOUSE. The Senate and Prez have no role. Try reading the Constitution.

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