Wednesday, January 11, 2006

MoveOn wants to address congressional corruption – Tiahrt simply takes part

Every day we hear about new congressional scandals. Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleads guilty. Tom DeLay is removed as Republican Leader. But there is no real action by Congress to stop corruption. The bottom line is: Congress cannot be trusted to clean up Congress.
The scandals are slimy but an opportunity to push reform. While members of Congress are home for the January break, it's important they hear that Americans want a real plan to enforce ethics rules and reign in lobbyists. And, the business of Congress just can't go forward until there is real reform with teeth. Will you sign our petition urging Congress to Stop Corruption First?
The recent scandals have opened a window of opportunity to pass a reform package. Leaders are going to try to pass something so they can say they've dealt with the problem. The question is, will it be tough or just business as usual? A real anti-corruption agenda with teeth would do something like:

Start enforcing ethics rules and punishing violators—Congress has proven they can't police themselves.
Reign in lobbyists—ban all gifts, free meals, free travel and cut lobbyists out of campaign fundraising.
Shine a light—real transparency and reporting. We want to know who is meeting with our leaders.
Get serious about public financing of elections.
These are just some of the ideas proposed by clean government advocates and some Democrats in Congress.1
Of all these ideas the most important is the first. Right now Congress thinks they can get away with corruption. The DeLay, Abramoff and other scandals were ignored by the neutered House Ethics Committee.2 That is why a new and independent ethics enforcement entity is badly needed.
Widespread corruption has real-world implications for ordinary Americans: higher prescription drug prices, high gas prices and bigger deficits. Passing a big ethics and lobbying reform plan needs to be the FIRST thing Congress does when they return. No renaming post offices. No picayune regulatory changes. Stop corruption first.
The plan is to deliver the petitions to Congress the day they begin their 2006 work. Our goal is to gather at least 250,000 signatures. Between now and then we'll be working together to build pressure for reform and highlight some of the worst consequences of corruption. Please sign the petition at the link below.
If you do our part and other people do their part together we can do something big.
Thanks for all you do.
– Tom, Adam, Jennifer, Tanya and the Political Action Team Wednesday, January 11th, 2006
1. "Five Ways to Shake Up Washington." Common Cause. January 11, 2006.
"Analysis: Pending Lobbying Reform Legislation Could Have Helped Prevent Much of Jack Abramoff Scandal." Public Citizen, January 6, 2006.
"The Real Scandal: Our Big Money Political System." Nick Nyhart, Public Campaign. January 10, 2006.
2. CREW Calls on House to Restore Ethics Committee. Citizens for Responsible and Ethics in Washington, March 15, 2005.
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