Democrats Find Ethics Overhaul Elusive in U.S. House of Representatives
House Democratic leaders pushing a promised lobbying overhaul are facing resistance from balky lawmakers and fending off accusations that a prominent member is flouting new ethics rules.
The Democratic leaders were forced to scrap a promise to double the current one-year lobbying ban after lawmakers leave office. Now, they are struggling to pass legislation requiring lobbyists to disclose the campaign contributions they “bundle” — collect and deliver — to lawmakers. Failing to deliver on both measures would endanger similar provisions already passed by the Senate.
Other House rules changes this year appear to have done little to alter business as usual on Capitol Hill. House Democrats voted along party lines on Tuesday to block the censure of one of their most powerful members, Representative John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania. He was accused of violating a new ethics rule that prohibits lawmakers from swapping pork for votes.
Still to come is a long-overdue report by a House committee considering the creation of an independent watchdog to monitor compliance with ethics rules. Democrats say the House is unlikely to endorse the idea, which the Senate has already rejected.