Sunday, August 05, 2007

Cornyn and Barton two of 21 in both houses of Congress who voted against ethics reform

Editorial - One giant step
Star-Telegram - Fri, Aug. 03, 20
Achieving ethics reform in Congress is akin to subjecting 535 people to simultaneous water torture. The slow drip, drip, drip of change takes a long time to wear down politicians.

The "drip, drip, drip" that led to this week's adoption of an ethics reform package came in the form of growing public dissatisfaction with congressional behavior.

The reform bill passed with what can only be described as a tidal wave of support -- 411-8 in the House and 83-14 in the Senate. Who can say for sure what kind of impact the search of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens' home by the FBI in conjunction with a corruption investigation had on those final tallies?

The bill, which now goes to the president for his signature, bans gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers and staff; bars companies from hiring spouses or immediate family of lawmakers to directly lobby their elected kinfolk; denies federal pensions to congressional members who are convicted of corruption charges related to official duties; and requires that sponsors of earmarks be fully identified 48 hours before legislation is voted on, among other reforms.

Is it ideal legislation? No. Nary a piece of legislation that has come from any lawmaking body is. But it's a giant step toward providing transparency and accountability.

Speaking of accountability, it's worth noting the names of the eight representatives who cast the nay votes in the House:

Democrats Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, Allen Boyd of Florida, William Lacy Clay of Missouri, Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri, John Murtha of Pennsylvania and John Tanner of Tennessee

Republicans Jeff Flake of Arizona -- and Joe Barton of Texas.

On the Senate side, the Texas delegation split. Kay Bailey Hutchison cast an aye vote; John Cornyn voted nay.

Makes one proud, doesn't it?
Read more in Star-Telegram

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