Pelosi's New Rules
It now appears that it will happen. This article has been floating ‘round the tubes for a couple weeks, and claims that the “Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2006”, written largely by the soon-to-be Speaker Nancy Pelosi, should pass now that the Democrats have control of the legislature. Here’s a sampling of the new rules:
No House member may accept any gift of any value from lobbyists, or any firm or association that hires lobbyists.
No free travel, which means an end to the corporate jet line every Friday at Reagan National Airport.
No free tickets to Redskins games; or no meals of any value, even at a McDonalds; no front-row seats at entertainment venues. No, no and no.
To reduce temptations to cheat, Pelosi's bill attacks the usefulness of members to richly endowed lobbyists.
House members will no longer be able to slip in special-interest projects on unrelated legislation. Such measures will no longer be allowed on a bill once negotiations between the Senate and House are complete.
Further, all bills will be made available to the public a full 24 hours before a final vote; presumably this gives watchdog groups a chance to flag any skullduggery.
Under the Pelosi rules, lobbyists will no longer be able to use the House gym (you'd be surprised how much gets negotiated in a sauna). Lobbyists will no longer be allowed onto the House floor or to use the cloakrooms just off the floor, preventing last-minute arm-twisting.
What's more, no member or staffer will be able to negotiate for employment in the public sector without disclosing such contacts to the House Ethics Committee, and within three days of such contact being made.
Finally, all of this will be audited and investigated by a new Office of Public Integrity, and that office reports, directly and only, to the U.S. Attorneys Office.
I know this won’t end corruption, and it won’t be a panacea for all the problems of electoral politics, but it would certainly help. If/when this act passes I’ll be sending a nice thank-you letter to Pelosi, I encourage others too as well.