House GOP Eases Some Ethic Rules
House Republicans unraveled some of their strict ethic rules Tuesday, passing changes that would allow charities to give lawmakers free travel and lodging at resorts and make it easier for lobbyists to send free food to congressional offices.
The move by the Republican leadership was hidden so well it even caught leaders of the House Ethics Committee by surprise. A Republican leadership aide called the changes cosmetic, but Democrats characterized them as a serious erosion of ethical standards.
The revisions were part of a package of rule changes that passed on a 221-203 party-line vote. A Democratic effort to kill the revisions lost, 225 to 200.
"The Republican majority made much of past abuses in this body," said Rep. Martin Frost (D-Texas) in the House's first debate of the 108th Congress. "Yet, now that the Republicans believe they have a safe and secure majority for the foreseeable future, they want to undo some of the significant strides that were made."
Remember, folks, the GOP claims it's the party of "integrity." What hooey.
(via Body and Soul, who also cites this juicy comment by The Agonist that once again blows up the myth of the so-called "liberal media": "...the entire text of the article is devoted to the "pizza rule" and completely avoids the much more important issue of travel and lodging expenses. Pizza versus travel and lodging expenses? Which is more likely to be abused? You can only eat so much pizza!")