WASHINGTON, D.C. –
Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) today joined Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senators Russ Feingold and Barack Obama and several more of his Senate colleagues in applauding the Democratic Congress for making ethics reform legislation the first order of business in the new session of the U.S. Senate.
The new bill, the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007, will be debated on the Senate floor this week, and if passed, will bring about the toughest and most comprehensive ethics reforms since Watergate.
“The American people are sick and tired of business as usual in Washington,” said Sen. Cardin. “Quite frankly, I am too. I believe that Congress must work for the people, not the special interests and lobbyists. That's why I am so pleased that we are taking action on Day One to clean up government and bring more transparency and tougher consequences. We must restore the confidence of the American people in their government and public officials.”
The legislation, introduced by Senator Reid, includes several much needed areas of reform, including: bans on gifts from lobbyists, closing the revolving door between K Street and the Capitol, improving ethics disclosure rules and reforming the earmark process.
Throughout his career in the House of Representatives, Rep. Cardin has led the fight to strengthen government ethics. On the House Ethics Committee, he led one of the most notable Congressional ethics investigations in our nation's history – the investigation and sanctioning of former Speaker Newt Gingrich. Mr. Cardin served on the House Ethics Committee from 1991 to 1997 and headed a bipartisan commission responsible for rewriting and strengthening the House ethics rules. When the Maryland State Legislature faced ethical dilemmas in 1998, the leaders called on Mr. Cardin to lead a commission to draft Maryland's new ethics laws.