Outside editorial: Time to follow through on ethics promises

Posted: Thursday, February 01, 2007

The following editorial first appeared in the Florida Times-Union:

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised the "most ethical Congress in history."

Good for her. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid apparently didn't get the memo. That's too bad. USA Today says wives and other close relatives of several members work as lobbyists on Capitol Hill.

And, not surprisingly, they're very effective.

In 2005 alone, according to the newspaper, Congress spent $750 million on projects pushed by lobbyists "with relatives on committees that wrote the bills."

That doesn't even remotely pass the "smell test."

Yet, when Sen. David Vitter, R-La., sought to ban spouses from lobbying the chamber, Reid was opposed. Reid said he didn't necessarily dislike the concept of a ban, but he wanted current members exempt.

One has to wonder why he made such a distinction.

If Pelosi really wants the most ethical Congress ever, she needs to take Reid to the proverbial woodshed.

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