Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Ethics & Openness in the House of Representatives

The Moderate Voice covers "Sunshine Week" in the House of Representatives.

A suggestion to Mr. Boehner and Ms. Pelosi: one way to increase openness and improve the ethics process would be to make ethics disclosures available to the public on the internet.

Go to the website of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (the official name for the Ethics Committee). Available on the site are forms for:

  • advance authorization of employee travel;
  • Member travel disclosure;
  • employee travel disclosure;
  • forms and instructions for disclosing gifts from foreign governments; and,
  • financial disclosure forms for gifts, earned and unearned gifts, and other items

There may be other forms as well, but that's all I can find.

Now which of these are available for public review and scrutiny on the site once they are filed?


Why not? All this data should be prominently disclosed - so the media and the voters don't need to go to the Ethics Committee offices, or the Clerk of the House, or whoever is responsible for publishing them. These forms should be published on the web within a week of their receipt.

If you're really trying to enhance confidence in ethical behavior, then make it easy for us to form our own judgments.

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