Friday, January 12, 2007

SENATE BILL S.1 PASSES!

"There's something that really grates in the notion that you can put the public's trust and the public's business up for sale and then walk away and have the people that you betrayed turn around and pay for you to be able to have a fat pension." (AP, 01.12.2007)

--Sen. John Kerry having to prove-himself, but making a good-step in that direction.



WASHINGTON D.C.--It passed--new ethics-rules that were proposed in the last-session, and for years-and-years, have finally been passed. Even Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) added an amendment that causes any convicted congressperson from losing their pension. It is not retroactive, which is normal. But these aren't normal times we live in, and adding a grandfather-provision is disappointing. This means "Duke" Cunningham and others will keep their pensions, which is unacceptable. If the first 100-hours ended at this moment, I would be satisfied. This is more than the 109th, do-nothing Congress could accomplish in six-months. Anyway, the vote was 87-0, because. Because you would look like an obvious-crook if you voted "Nay".

The bill is a "comprehensive" ethics bill, not merely designed for the pensions-issue. Lobbyists will also now be fined $200,000 for each-infraction of lobbying law: "The Senate also voted 81-6 in favor of an amendment offered by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), that would increase fines from the current $50,000 to $200,000 for lobbyists who violate lobbying disclosure law." (AP, 01.12.2007) See? we can all get-along and do what's right for America, not for the corporations only. It just takes an electorate that's awake and responsible--we're getting-there, the November 7th midterms are a watershed that nobody would have foreseen one-year-ago. Yes, it takes force and a challenge to power. Power grants nothing without a challenge, not ever.

Here's my favorite-part of this bill's sections:


SEC. 109. PUBLIC DISCLOSURE BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS OF EMPLOYMENT NEGOTIATIONS.

Rule XXXVII of the Standing Rules of the Senate is amended by adding at the end the following:

14. A Member shall not directly negotiate or have any arrangement concerning prospective private employment until after the election for his or her successor has been held, unless such Member files a statement with the Secretary of the Senate, for public disclosure, regarding such negotiations or arrangements within 3 business days after the commencement of such negotiation or arrangement, including the name of the private entity or entities involved in such negotiations or arrangements, the date such negotiations or arrangements commenced, and must be signed by the Member.'


Want that cush-job after your tenure congressperson "blah-blah-blah"? It won't be so hush-hush anymore. This isn't going hammer-shut all improprities, but this is a great bill.



"More from the floor" With Sen. Patrick Leahy:
http://leahy.senate.gov/MFTF/MoreFromtheFloor.html

S.1: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070112/ap_on_go_co/senate_ethics

Text of S.1: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=s110-1