January 19, 2007

SEN. CARDIN SPONSORS AMENDMENT TO MAKE CONGRESSIONAL TRAVEL RECORDS MORE OPEN AND TRANSPARENT

New Website Would Make Congressional Travel More Publicly Accessible

Contacts: Oren Shur; 202-224-4524

Susan Sullam: 410-962-4436


WASHINGTON Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) today joined Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) in sponsoring a bipartisan amendment (Amend. No. 0039) to the Senate ethics bill (S.1) to establish a public website that allows the American people to access congressional travel records. This is the first amendment sponsored by Sen. Cardin as a U.S. Senator.

The American people deserve to know exactly where their Senators and Representatives are traveling, why theyre traveling there and most importantly, who is paying for the trip, said Sen. Cardin. Most Congressional trips are for legitimate purposes, but I believe well make progress in weeding out the excessive, unnecessary trips by bringing more openness and transparency to the process. Its an important piece to the much larger need for comprehensive ethics reform. Congress must regain the trust of the American people.

The Coleman-Cardin Amendment calls for the establishment of a website, which the public can access without charge, that contains information on all officially related congressional travel that is subject to disclosure under the House and Senate gift rules. The website will contain a search engine and be easy to navigate.

The broader ethics bill, which Sen. Cardin supports, restricts Congressional trips paid for by lobbyists and requires Members of Congress to obtain approval from the Ethics Committee before taking other privately financed trips.