The House Ethics Committee caved to public pressure, and quickly reversed itself two days after a secret ruling that changed eliminated a rule requiring members of Congress to publicly disclose the free trips they were getting from lobbyists.
Two days ago, I wrote about the House Ethics Committee secretly eliminating a rule that required members of Congress to disclose free trips worth tens of thousands of dollars that were paid for by lobbyists. It was ironic that the House Ethics Committee made a secret decision that was designed to avoid transparency.
After a great public outcry, the House Ethics Committee quickly reversed course.
According to The Hill, “House Ethics Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway said Thursday on a local Texas radio program that his panel would overturn a change to annual disclosure forms that removed the requirement of lawmakers to report on privately funded trips.”
By not publicizing the change in the rules, it was clear that the House Ethics Committee knew what they were doing was wrong. Members of Congress often think that they can sneak things past the folks back home, but in the age of the Internet, someone is always watching. As soon as a bit of light was shined on the subject, the members of the Ethics Committee quickly backtracked.
The Citizens United decision has allowed corporate and billionaire dollars to have too much influence over the nation’s politics. One of the main reasons for the gridlock in Congress is because Republican members of the House and Senate work for their big money donors, not the Republican Party, or their constituents. This decision by the Ethics Committee was a sign that many members of Congress wanted to be bought with luxury trips and private jet rides.
The American people told them no, and Congress was delivered a stern reminder that it doesn’t matter who writes the checks for their reelection campaigns, they work for the people.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association