Thursday, February 02, 2006
Ethics committee goes dark
QUESTION: For all the indictments, investigations and troubling questions swirling around Congress, why have we heard so little, or more bluntly, nothing, from the House ethics committee?

ANSWER: In the mid-1990s, Democrats and Republicans became so concerned that ethics complaints were being used for unfair political attacks on each other, both parties agreed to a truce. Although few will speak publicly about it, the truce is widely acknowledged on both sides of the aisle.

The ethics committee (or as it is properly known, the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct) is made up of five Republicans and five Democrats, so neither party can fairly say the other is keeping the committee silent. People seem to be noticing: A poll in December found that almost half of the U.S. population thinks most members of Congress are corrupt.

Now we're hearing all this talk in Washington, D.C., about lobbying reform. I have no particular affection for lobbyists, but it seems to me that this is like saying, "We have a problem with policemen taking bribes, but we're not going to hold the officers accountable. We'll just come up with new laws for criminals."

Some people will always offer improper favors to people in high places. What we need are members of Congress who won't accept those favors.

So tell me what you think: Should Congress officially turn off the lights and abolish the ethics committee? Will anyone notice if they do?
Posted By Tom Foreman, CNN Correspondent: 4:08 PM ET
Abolishing the ethics committee will be a tacit acknowledgement that there are no member of Congress with sufficiently clean slates that they might evaluate their colleagues without hypocrisy.

While that may be true, I suspect Congress would balk at admitting it.
Posted By Anonymous Deb Geisler, Middleton, MA : 4:18 PM ET
I believe the Ethics committee is itself a political favor for those who are in the committee. If it were abolished, would the 1/3 of the nation that voted even notice? Nope.
Posted By Anonymous Kyle, Austin TX : 4:22 PM ET
yet another case of how the closet kills! watch Brokeback Mountain for more examples.
Posted By Anonymous Mark Boston, MA : 4:24 PM ET
Does anyone in Congress care that the the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct is still there? Doesn't seem like it.

Who is on this committee?
Posted By Anonymous Linda, Butler, PA : 4:26 PM ET
Ethics among our lawmakers at the federal, state, and local levels is an oxymoron like military intelligence. Ethics went out the window with the baby when they threw the bath water out. It is time men and women of integrity hold office and won't be moved by special interests, money, or power.
Posted By Anonymous Kay, Perry FL : 4:28 PM ET
No one will notice
Posted By Anonymous James Norris,Port Charlotte,Fl : 4:33 PM ET
It's ridiculous to think this Committee had any value in the first place. And it's not just in politics...has anyone else noticed no major CEO or such come out and say that scandals such as Enron are bad? Pretty quiet on that front too.
Posted By Anonymous Sandi, New York, NY : 4:36 PM ET
We need a third party independent ethics committee that is not beholden to any party or congressman. Congress is incapable of policing itself.
Posted By Anonymous Morgan R. San Diego, CA : 4:36 PM ET
Sadly, no. Nobody will notice, at least not the people who can make a difference.
Posted By Anonymous Chris Cargill, Greensboro NC : 4:37 PM ET
If they are not doing anything, let these 10 alone. They can't/are not writing any stupid laws while doing nothing. Vote all incubments out!!
Posted By Anonymous F. B Auman, Spring Mills, Pa. : 4:39 PM ET
Congress is full of greedy politicians and the Ethics committee sitting on their cans doing nothing is nothing new. Where has everybody been?
Posted By Anonymous Carolyn Davis, Watervliet, MI : 4:40 PM ET
Why not do something intelligent, making it a crime to accept gifts or money from registered lobbists, with fines or jail time for those who give AND take? Nah, too sensible. Politicians could not live on their meager salaries,perks and retirement benefits.
Posted By Anonymous Philip, Dallas, TX : 4:44 PM ET
It is time that more "common folk" be admitted into the political arena. People who have been living and breathing the real world, not the world politicians tend to live in. Common folk who know exactly how screwed they have gotten by the career politicians out there. People who still care what their friends, family, colleagues, and co-workers think of them. People who work tirelessly for the few dollars they scrape up each week, and think nothing of stealing, lying, or violating any ethical standards - because they remember what mom and dad taught them. I think many career politicians, just like many wealthy, have the feeling that money is power, and that money can buy you out of any trouble - maybe that perspective should change?
Posted By Anonymous Marko, Champaign IL : 4:46 PM ET
Having an Ethics Committee made up of members of the House is leaving the fox in charge of the henhouse. Every federal agency has a (theoretically) independent Inspector General. Why not a similar office for our elected officials? (I know, I know, because elected office puts one, apparently, above the law.)
Posted By Anonymous Arachnae, Sterling VA : 4:49 PM ET
Would anyone working in congress actually be 'punished' for any breach of ethics? If they don't plan on doing anything about it - why have it. Company employees are fired for less that what some members of congress do routinely
Posted By Anonymous dj Delray Beach Fl : 4:53 PM ET
If it wasn't so expensive to run for office and win Congress members wouldn't have to curry favor with those who can afford to put and keep them in office. It seems that a large majority of federal legislators are very wealthy. If more average folks were in office maybe things could change. But this country seems bogged down right now. I know it could never be perfect, but maybe things could be better.
Posted By Anonymous Annabelle Echo, Chicago IL : 4:54 PM ET
Unfortunately, this committee is probably beyond help. It seems to me that a committee composed of the very people we cannot trust defeats the basic principle of the committee. If Congress really wanted the American people to trust them they would form a non-partisan committee to investigate the happenings at the Capitol. Perhaps CNN should create its own investigative commission to review our politicians.
Posted By Anonymous Kim Miller, Lancaster, PA : 5:15 PM ET
No, Congress should not abolish the Ethics Committee. Enron, Worldcom, this kind of behavior can easily occour with in congress if the ethics committee is abolished. Somebody has to hold the congress accountable for their actions...

I am in favor of the ethics committee.
This is the same reason the FCC is still in place. People was talking about it'z very demise, until, the Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction.

The citizens will never be able to find out all the details of a congressmans actions. The inner details without a third party watchdog.

Posted By Anonymous iQon, St. Louis, Mo. : 5:34 PM ET
Mr. Foreman

Your idea of finding individuals who can represent Congress under the watchog ideals that the ethics commitee should by obiding by to begin with is quite a Utopian view and seems like an indirect call for a new, but reformed Great Compromise. I would suggest that the problem stems from those who are in the position of appointing/electing the 10 officials to form the committee. Which is basically a flawed system in itself. The temptation of political gain through "persuasion" is unavoidable. The rampant participation or on the other side, finger pointing, in regards to questionable conduct involving Congress is an unfortunate part of the game, to the point it has become the norm or so says the polls.
There is no conceivable way, as human nature dictates, especially in this political climate to appoint anyone to Congress who will not succumb to favoring pressures. Unless of course you are willing to farm embryo's and shelter them from the American mainstream whilst educating them on the political sytem until they are eligble age to take a seat. So turn the lights off and turn on the incubators.
Posted By Anonymous FR Scott, Port Perry, ONT : 5:57 PM ET
we should have more serious punishment for officials taking bribes and the like. Ultimately, this is akin to treason, so make the punishment so. Then maybe well get some more integrity in high places. Hell pay em MORE if they actually do us any good, just to make the job attractive.
Posted By Anonymous Brent Norman, OK : 6:00 PM ET
I've always heard that if you want to get to the bottom of anything, that you should "follow the money".
is it unreasonable, considering the reduced privacy that everyday citezens face under the "Patriot" act, that congressmen (and women) be monitered by an independent agency 24/7 to insure that they have no opportunity to accept, or even be offered improper favors without full public knowledge?
Posted By Anonymous Ray, Port Townsend WA : 6:17 PM ET
the Ethics Committee should all be
Independents no Republicans no
Democrats right now the fox is
guarding the chickens
Posted By Anonymous jim sloan hopwood pa : 6:17 PM ET
That depends, who is on this committee and how much does it cost? And the fact that you said they like to keep quiet about it tells me they're doing a whole lot of nothin'.
Posted By Anonymous Courtney, Chagrin Falls, OH : 6:19 PM ET
Ethics in American politics has been neutered by this committee of politicians who no longer realize why they are there in the first place...and we allow them to. We allow them because we are too comfortable to get off of our leather couch while watching our big screen TV, in our designer jeans drinking the latte we just got from Starbucks. Everyone, it is not their fault. It is ours for allowing them to be there. We vote them in again and again and again. That is if you even can even get up and vote.
Posted By Anonymous Mark in Akron, Ohio : 6:21 PM ET
Does it matter if we notice? Nothing is done about it which is why we need independent entity handling this.
Posted By Anonymous Anonymous : 6:24 PM ET
Since Congress are obviously not holding themselves accountable for the culture of corruption that has overcome the house of Representatives, it is the job of every American to hold them accountable at the polls.
Posted By Anonymous Rob, Denver CO : 6:26 PM ET
Bribery of a politician should be a capital crime for the politician taking the bribe. Execute the first politician and the rest will fall in line. The problem will go away after the first occurance and execution. P.S. - the execution should be covered by CNN in gory detail.
Posted By Anonymous William Mathis Hampton Va : 6:28 PM ET
WHAT's the USE ??? The Bush Administration hasn't had any oversight for the past 4 years, so why start now ??? It would be nice to have some of these Corrupt practices investigated, but between the White House and lack of media attention (except for you Anderson), the American people are in the Dark !!!
And this will be a permanent condition, unless we have MORE not LESS
'checks and balances' - Remember the Constitution !!!!!! Whatever happened to government, by - for and -of the PEOPLE !!!!!!!
Posted By Anonymous Brenda in Detroit Michigan : 6:30 PM ET
The fox is in the hen house and the
head hen also is on the same diet, so
the bandaid fix is only window dressing.
Posted By Anonymous DBP, Carlsbad, NM : 6:32 PM ET
Turn on the lights of the Ethics committee and see those caca roachs run.
Posted By Anonymous Mark, Placercille CA : 6:32 PM ET
Etics committee is good. In principle. But I doubt anyone will notice if it is abolished. Well, perhaps except media, who'll have something to talk about for a while. Maybe we should try an ethics committee with members that are from outside the Congress. Or even better, make it 6 to 4, one year 6 from one party, next year 6 from the other party. This way every year some abuses would be at least unveiled.
Posted By Anonymous Matilda, Ann Arbor, MI : 6:34 PM ET
Yes they should abolish the ethic's committee, obviously it is dysfunction anyway. No one will even notice, they don't do anything, anyway. But, I wouldn't look to the supreme court for "justice".
Truthfully, the only way to get a handle on this problem, is to put it to the voter's.
The more politician's ignore each other's corruption , the more unrest and distrust will boil among the public. They are all committing political suicide. The elections, next November will be every interesting to watch. I am predicting a real political storm.
Posted By Anonymous Brenda, Iva, SC : 6:37 PM ET
House ethics committee? You must be joking. Just like the hearings on how oil companies have made huge profits, any question on ethics, truth or integrity is just an excuse for a showpiece for many members of congress. It gives them the perfect stage to create the illusion of "We the people".
Until all members of congress accept that with any amount of power comes responsibility, this country will never be free of the absolute corruption and hypocrisy that is the day to day workings of the United States Congress.
Posted By Anonymous Anthony Steventon. Pagosa Springs. CO : 6:38 PM ET
"... Some people will always offer improper favors to people in
high places. What we need are members of Congress who won't
accept those favors."

Exactly right. But we won't get honest Congressmen just by
voting for people who appear honest. The worst liars and bribe
takers often have the best public faces. We have to create
institutions that discourage betrayal of the public trust.

We need laws that are very strict about what's proper and what's
not, and we have to include a lot of things in the "what's not
proper" category that are currently standard practice in

We also need laws that shine bright lights on congressional,
executive branch, and lobbying behavior and make it hard and
illegal to hide questionable activities.

We need to get behind people like John McCain and Russ Feingold
who care about these issues and want to pass these kinds of laws.
This should not be a partisan issue. Democrats and Republicans
can both support campaign finance and ethics reform and we should
form grass-roots organizations to fight for it.
Posted By Anonymous Alan Meyer, Randallstown, Maryland : 6:43 PM ET
"Enron, Worldcom, this kind of behaviour can easily occour within congress if the ethics committee is abolished"
-iQon, St. Louis, Mo

But those things did happen without congressional intervention with the ethics committee in place. I think there needs to be a stonger emphasis on investigation in important ethics cases like these, but whether that would happen in the near future is pretty doubtful. We shouldn't get rid of the ethics committee, but it usually takes a national scandal like Enron, etc. for there to be any actual work being done. Money and power is more enticing than integrity, and that is quite unfortunate.
Posted By Anonymous Katherine - Anchorage, Alaska : 6:47 PM ET
What are ethics based upon anyway? Does the ethics committee have a consensus based upon the relative beliefs of these 10 congressman? Since there is appears to be an absence of ethical leadership or a standard for ethical behavior, more of the "whatever we can get away with" behavior will prevail in the future. It's only human.
Posted By Anonymous Tommy G., Pasadena, California : 6:53 PM ET
I have to wonder. Are our elected officials so corrupted by power they have replaced our version of ethical behavior with there twisted version. Now we the people have become the problem for trying to effect change to a system that by all historic accounts Isn�t broken, and all this talk about change is only talk and will be quietly swept under the rug with the revelation of some new island kidnapping or cruse ship disappearance. I have yet to meet a person with more arrogance as some in office. They need to come off there high horse and remember they work for us not corporate America. But then I keep forgetting that a corporation has more rights than a person in this country.
Posted By Anonymous Daniel B, San Francisco CA : 6:56 PM ET
When I was a consultant to the Defense Department, the rules were simple. Our clients were not allowed to accept gifts, favors, trips, meals, etc. other than a token souvenir. Even when we provided a buffet lunch as a courtesy during a seminar, some clients felt obligated to reimburse us $5 for their lunch.

If our military personnel can live up to this high standard, why can't our Senators and Representatives and their staffs?
Posted By Anonymous Milt Hess, Santa Barbara, CA : 6:56 PM ET
Members of Congress should accept ZERO gifts, lunches, travel, etc. They are paid well and have excellent benefits. So why can't they pay for their own restaurant meals and travel costs? That's a start toward cleaning up conflicts created by lobbyists and others seeking favors.
Posted By Anonymous Blaine G. Davis Yarmouth Maine : 7:03 PM ET
Yes Congress should.The committee does nothing to punish a bunch of whores gone wild. The Congress of the United States doesn't represent the common people.They prostitute themselves to the highest bidder, which usually is corporate America. Wake up American people when are you going to realize this is no longer our country but a country that belongs to big corporations who care nothing at all about us Americans only how much money they can make for themselves and their stockholders. This country is no longer a democracy it is a dictatorship run by a few. Congress will only listen to you if you buy them like the cheap whores they are!
Posted By Anonymous Jesse, Peoria,IL : 7:03 PM ET
The committee is a pointless waste of time. After all, why have a House Ethics Committee when the House has no ethics to begin with?
Posted By Anonymous S Thomas Minneapolis MN : 7:09 PM ET
What's the point of having a toothless committee if it can't serve any purpose? It has already turned itself off, all that is needed is expunge the name and give the members something productive to do.
Posted By Anonymous Joseph, Houston, TX : 7:10 PM ET
As stated in the original comment, the parties themselves have declared a �truce� of sorts where one party or it�s members won�t �rat out� members of the other party for political gain. With the entire body of people who can get an investigation started now mute (I believe the rules limit originating complaints to the members of the house), there doesn�t seem to be much chance of the committee doing anything productive without a significant change to the status quo.

As long as we have the free press we probably don�t need the committee. Let them continue to expose the Duke�s and Tom�s and the voters (and sometimes the FBI and the Judicial system) will take care of any issues they find (we sure do love to read about them when they are found out). We already have the laws in place to prosecute corruption so let�s just encourage our press to continue to keep our members of Congress honest.
Posted By Anonymous Chuck B, San Diego, CA : 7:16 PM ET
They will not regulate themselves, but they should. So I guess it's up to the voters to throw them out, or basically fire them for not doing an adequate job. Believe it or not the people are noticing.
Posted By Anonymous Pat, Park City, Utah : 7:20 PM ET
I am mistaken or didn't the Repulicans in charge change their committee members when they tried to go after their Republican leaders? Didn't they sanction their buddy three times and then lost their jobs? It seems to me the reason the committee isn't doing anything is because of FEAR for their carreers not the concern for ethics of elected officials.
Posted By Anonymous Maxx Cyberman Detroit, Mi : 7:22 PM ET
The ethics committee is dysfunctional because Congress is just a bunch of good ol' boys who protect each other. If there were TERM LIMITS there wouldn't be the blatant corruption we see now in Congress.
Posted By Anonymous Mary Ann, Tacoma WA : 7:35 PM ET
Congress should completely reconstitute the ethics committee (on Standards, hahahahaha) with all new members, consistently of Freshmen only, who seem to be the only category of Reps with any burning desire to do good.

But, no, if they abolished the committee, I sense that no one will notice they left the building.
Posted By Anonymous Ken Brooks, Mulikteo, WA : 7:46 PM ET
It's time for a new declaration of independence from a government that increasingly has become irrelevant to its people. Throw them all out -- all of them. They all slurp at the public trough.
Posted By Anonymous Dan New York : 7:53 PM ET
Sure, I will notice and I will remind others.I believe it was Thomas Jefferson that said "the free press is our greatest protection from a corrupt government" As I watched Bush in his race to war i was horrified. I wrote and called every news outlet begging them to research his 'reasoning' Then when he declared war I was so dishearted and sad about the direction I could see our country going in. Please do not let anything like that happen again. I want news and we need news. Politicians have to know someone is watching. I have been for 5 years and it is frightening what this administration is doing to our economy,our standing with the rest of the world and our environment. They have used wedge issues to divide this nation and that is how they have controlled us. Divide and conquer.We must learn to agree on the things that we all agree too and then work to compromise on the rest.When I think of our future I think. God help Us. Not God bless us.Power is adictive.
Posted By Anonymous Carol Roop Mitchell ,Indiana : 7:55 PM ET
Many years ago I had read that we no longer have a two party system, rather what we have is one party, the Demopublicans. I beleive most are in it for themselves. They would not abolish the facade that is now called the ethics committee; besides, who amongst them is ethical enough to put forth such an item to a vote??
Posted By Anonymous Robert Musial, Sacramento CA : 8:00 PM ET
The Constitution, unfortunately, gives Congress the power to police itself. That is a mistake that should be remedied. Ancient common law has long recognized that a person shouldn't be a judge in one's own case.

That ethics committee better start doing its job -- or we voters will do it for them! Toss the rascals out!
Posted By Anonymous Don, Portland, Oregon : 8:09 PM ET
Turn off the lights on the ethics committee and hopefully its ten members can instead spend that time
reading more of the laws they are passing.
Posted By Anonymous Matt, Dallas TX : 8:11 PM ET
It is so easy just to establish a committee or have a study done to pacify the folks. Just how naive do those politicians think we are? Just because we lack power to change things doesn't mean that we don't notice how corrupt Washington has become.

I do hope the Democrats develop a little backbone and start standing up to Bush and his "compassionate conservatives" who are neither compassionate (cuts in Medicaid for the poor are evident of that) and conservative (with Bush and the politicians spending money like an inebriated sailor on a 3 day pass) -- running up a debt that our grandchildren will be paying off 50 years from now.
Posted By Anonymous Alice Thomas, Sacramento, CA : 8:21 PM ET
NO, Congress should NOT abolish the Ethics Committee. The Committee should be empowered because our fast-moving cum high-tech-driven lives in this ultra-globalization era create increasingly threatening ethical conundrum. It's not only about Enron and Worldcom etc., but it's about the challenging impact of modern technolgy in many areas of our lives. God knows what will happen with genetic engineering and nanotechnology!
Posted By Anonymous Georgiana, Spring, TX : 8:30 PM ET
Ethics committee who?

I always find it ironic that conservatives/republicans are always anti-government, and rabidly say that "all politicians are corrupt", yet are the first to back Bush & Co. when it comes to policymaking.

They never take into account that those they don't trust actually aren't trustworthy.
Posted By Anonymous Dan, Tampa, FL : 8:46 PM ET
Isn't this the wolf guarding the hen house? Find another way to keep Congress in line.
Posted By Anonymous Daniel Sturgeon, expat in Tokyo, Japan : 9:35 PM ET
The public's respect for our government depends oh the integrity of people in office That respect is at a seriously low level now..
Posted By Anonymous David Lrron, Naples, FL : 9:37 PM ET
How about thoughtfully-staffed, independently-composed ethics review boards, with appropriate processes (complaints, appeals), quarterly reports, and high public accessibility? A true "CEO president" could hardly scoff at this common business approach, nor would a reimbursed employee, public or private.

And yes, at this point, it's magical thinking.
Posted By Anonymous DCH, PhD, State College, PA : 9:39 PM ET
When the corrupt are so guilty that they can't even hide it from themselves, they HAVE to hide it from public view. Time for real patriots to clean OUR House (it does belong to us you know), top to bottom!
Posted By Anonymous Morgana, bigfork, MT : 9:39 PM ET
It might seem somewhat useless for those with no ethics to protect us from those with no ethics. I, however, like to compare it to a basketball player taking a flop to draw a charge. Both teams do it, and it keeps both teams somewhat in check. Now the little kids we call politicians and lobbyists in Washington DC still play shamelessly dirty, but at least their game is somewhat in check.
Posted By Anonymous Rich Schippers, Seattle WA GO HAWKS! : 9:41 PM ET
The absence of a mere committee on ethics does not mean that Congress does not retain the power to impeach, remove, censure, or otherwise condemn the actions of a member.
Posted By Anonymous Eric, Camden (New Jersey) : 9:41 PM ET
"Does anyone in Congress care that the the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct is still there? Doesn't seem like it.

Who is on this committee?"
Posted By Linda, Butler"

Well yes, there are people in congress who care about the House Ethics Committee. Alan Meyer mentioned Sens. McCain and Feingold. As to "who is on this committee?", a more pointed question might be "Who is *not* on this committee?"

One person who is not -- any longer -- on the House Ethics Committee is its former chairman, Conservative Republican Joel Hefley of Colorado Springs, who twice voted to sanction then Majority Leader Rep. Tom Delay for ethics violations.

So where is Rep. Hefley now? Why has he not been invited back? At minimum, why no abject apologies from the "new" House leadership? The past treatment of Rep. Hefley, and his apparent continued "quarantine", speaks volumes of how ethically the entire U.S. House of Representatives takes the issue of Ethics.
Posted By Anonymous Edward Leaver, Denver CO : 9:41 PM ET
The ethics committee should be run by a group of retired judges appointed by the Supreme Court. It should have the power to remove violators from office pending the outcome of a trial on the merits of the charges. Legislators must be held to and must adhere to a higher standard.

You can't have the fox guard the henhouse...
Posted By Anonymous Sam Sternlight Los Angeles, CA : 9:42 PM ET
Perhaps there should be an independent ethics commission for all three branches of government. Appoint a bipartisan panel of ex-judges to the commission and make the appointments permanent. Give the ethics commission the power to subpoena individuals up to and including the President.
Posted By Anonymous Mark, Irmo, SC : 9:43 PM ET
The truly disheartening fact is that there is a NEED for an "ethics committee" at this level of our federal government. Sad, truly sad.
Posted By Anonymous Nathan Pruett, Mount Pleasant, S : 9:45 PM ET
No the Ethics Committee should not be abolished. They should just flip a coin whenever they are faced with an ethical question/problem. Heads they do what they are elected to do, DISCOVERY ETC. Tails they do what they are now doing.
Posted By Anonymous M.T. Tucker, Stanton, Delaware : 9:46 PM ET
Congress has an ethics committee? I thought the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct was just a retirement home for congressmen. Seriously, in order for a committee like this to be effective, it must one, have clout, and two actually use it. If it wasn't around, people would not miss it until something serious happens enough to call for the committee to be reinstated. Look at how many times Delay got in trouble, yet he became House Speaker and was able to hold that position until recently.

Having this committee is a great idea, but as it has been pointed out, who is watching the watchers? Nobody is jumping to punish the people that were dealing with him and gaining favors and if they did, what could they really do? The people elected the official, so they just can not fire them. So like Delay they would only receive a slap on the wrists and sternly tell them not to do it again.

Yes, we need lobbying reform, but why was this brought up only after a lobbyist was convicted and not while he was suspected? Why did everyone give the money they received from him to charity after his conviction and not before? Better yet, why didn�t they give it back to the people that Abramoff worked for? It�s a tax right-off for both parties if donated to charity instead of giving it back. Also, why is everyone trying to cover their tracks? It seems funny that the ones under suspicion are the ones publicly pushing for reform.

There is a serious ethical problem in congress and the ethics committee needs to do their jobs, be sterner, and curb this behavior before it gets this out of hand because once the American people find out, we want answers to why this happened and in turn, weakens our perception of the Government being able to represent us.
Posted By Anonymous Adrian, Dallas, Tx : 9:47 PM ET
yes, the ethics committee should be abolished, and it should be replaced by an independent standing commission outside Congress.
Posted By Anonymous aron, lawrence ks : 9:50 PM ET
The only way to fix these problems today is not by committee. A good start would be cleaning the entire Washington establisment out and start over from scratch. That's the only chance we have to survive.
Posted By Anonymous Ron Harris, Lincolnton, N.C. : 9:51 PM ET
I think Our government is on the way to killing the american dream buy spending all our money so they can live it up and get paid for not even doing there job. I don't think the eithics committe does any thing but show up. All in all our government officails are a lost cause and don't care about us after they after elected. They should get paid minimul wage just to see why they realy ran for a seat.
Posted By Anonymous Travis D Alamagordo, NM : 9:52 PM ET
I honestly don't know what the purview of the committee is or was. I don't know if it was effective, but I could certainly see how political opponents could level unsubstantiated charges to harass each other.

Ethics are not the same thing as the law, though we hope they match. However, our own history as a country shows that unethical laws have prevailed (slavery, segregation). This situation seems more an issue of making the laws necessary to encourage (enforce) our politicians to behave ethically.

To me, looking at it simplistically, it should be easy to eliminate the worst offenses (junkets etc). Public officials should publish their itineraries for scrutiny to the public or at least an oversight board. Plus, they should have to disclose travel arrangements. If someone is unwilling to be on record meeting with a public official, it seems more likely there might be something untoward going on.

Also, people should demand corporations not be able to make political contributions. Only voters should be able to support candidates. And even there, I believe there should be limits so that an oligarchical system can be avoided.

I am not surprised, but saddened to see so many angry comments but such apathy. C'mon folks, do you even know who your senator and representative are? Have you reviewed their voting record? Cooper Anderson isn't responsible for keeping you informed, you are! Do something if you're not happy. And not just blogging, though it's a guilty pleasure of mine too...
Posted By Anonymous Morgan, Reynoldsburg OH : 9:53 PM ET
All Elected officials should be held to a much HIGHER Standard. And if they dont then they should be removed.
Posted By Anonymous T. Chester, Lewisville, TX : 9:55 PM ET
I think the commitee was somewhat functional before the majority changed the rules a year or two ago to take any potential heat off of Mr. Delay. Remember, they actually rebuked Mr. Delay 3 times. I believe the outgoing chairman had some critical words for his own party, and the manner in which the rules were changed. I thought this was the party of integrity and reform?
Posted By Anonymous Bill, Phila. PA : 9:56 PM ET
The committee cannot be abolished. Most Americans probably do not even know what it is right now -- if it ceased to exist, the media coverage would have everyone in an uproar.

As for the larger issue of corruption (and the type of people who enter public office)... I believe the problem is that the smartest members of our society have no desire to go into politics. As a student at a reasonably prestigious university, I am appalled by the way my classmates complain about the government, while pursuing careers mostly as investment bankers. Ideally, the best and brightest young Americans should seek public office and make a difference in the system, rather than simply bemoan current politicians. That's my plan, at least....
Posted By Anonymous Theodore, Princeton NJ : 9:59 PM ET
Congress needs to drop the pretext of ethics and do what they do best: sell to the highest bidder. However, the Senate and House should keep up with technology. I would suggest putting each new proposed statute and law up on EBay where the highest bidder could get to write it. This would be capitalism at its purest and eliminate the need for any ethics panel. The proceeds could balance the budget, or more likely, pay Rep. DeLay's legal bills.
Posted By Anonymous Charles Holzer, Las Vegas, NV : 10:05 PM ET
Clearly this "truce" that has been silently agreed to by both parties is merely a way for both sides to keep each other quiet. Sure, the bipartisan nature of the committee prevents one party from dominating, but by silently agreeing to not bring ethics complaints against each other, the parties simply negate each other rather than check each other. That being said, the committee should definitely dissolve. Since neither side is willing to bring ethics complaints against the other, frankly the committee serves absolutely no purpose other than to offer the American people the facade of an oversight committee on ethics. They should stop wasting House resources on a committee that effectively does nothing.
Posted By Anonymous Matthew, Medford, MA : 10:06 PM ET
Is this America today, where some the soldiers who fight for our country and other countries have to live on welfare, while the politicians pad their pockets with as much as they can get...let them live off a common soldier's pay.
Posted By Anonymous Rob, Nashville : 10:06 PM ET
Maybe if we all called our local, state, and national news organizations editors and demanded interviews with the members of these comittee's to explain why there have been no investigations or at least whay the purpose of their comittee is if they intend to continue their boycott, they could get the impression that we care. If they did get that impression my might actually start making progress in giving the members the same impression. I personally am sick and tired of seeing twelve year old's arrested for eating french fries on the subway while our president and congress flaunt flagrant violations of our most sacred laws daily.
How about dish us out some phone numbers Anderson...people are often confused about how to let cnn and other news organizations know what stories we'd like to hear about..maybe even what stories we "don't" want to hear about. Just think we might never again have to endure 18 days of continuous coverage of a Michael Jackson trial....
Posted By Anonymous Lakeland Fl : 10:08 PM ET
No one would notice. Since we citizens are uninterested in participating in our government,we can only blame ourselves.
Posted By Anonymous John Carrigy Huntsville, Al. : 10:11 PM ET
Remove all members of the House and Senate. Fire them all. Have new elections.

Anyone who has been in a political position in the last 10 years can not run for any office. They need to get a real job like the rest of us.

Either that or Thunderdrome...
Posted By Anonymous G, Los Angeles CA : 10:16 PM ET
Yes, they're not doing their job. They ignore what is presented to them, hardly meet, and it's simply a waste of time and money. If they did their job, we wouldn't be in half the mess we're in now. Disband.
Posted By Anonymous Jackie, Surprise, Arizona : 10:19 PM ET
Turn off the lights. Since none of our representatives have an ethics, why have a committee trying to regulate conduct. If they still want to have a committee, let's call it what it is- the Unethical Committe for the Representtaion of No One but Ourselves.
Posted By Anonymous Al Pfeltz, Valley Center, CA : 10:19 PM ET
Congress may flounder, as the nation flounders, in one direction or another on the ethical compass...but that does not change the fact that the foundation needs to be in place for the next Mr. Smith who chooses to go to Washington or (for one who is already there) to step up and put those who choose to not follow basic ethical standards to task.

Despite the multitude of indecencies commited by our elected officials in the last decade, the difference is now that we hear about them, constantly, whereas before it was easier to choose not to. The way we interact and learn is different. But the ethics should not be. Keep the committee alive. One day, it will serve it's purpose (I hope we all live to see that day).
Posted By Anonymous Greg Siers, Valencia, CA : 10:19 PM ET
Ethics, Politics. Damn. It's so hard to use the two words in the same serntence.It's almost like ,"Military Intelligence.
Posted By Anonymous Wayne D . Burkett, Mobile, Al : 10:25 PM ET
What a mess, the more money, the lower
the quality of representation. Someone
suggested raising their pay,some of these people would work for just what
they could steal. We have a tendacy to
lump all of them together, then I see John Murtha, then I know that is wrong.
Posted By Anonymous E. caldwell, Lawton,OK : 10:26 PM ET
I think the ethics committee should be given greater punitive powers such as the death penalty.
Posted By Anonymous Regicide, Deadwood Nevada : 10:27 PM ET
Dear Sir:'
The present system is not working, we need an independent group to monitor any abuses. This way it would be nonpartisan and would be more likely to keep people in line. As to our present problems with corruption, if your not happy with your congressman or woman then vote them out. A much better answer would be for states to adopt limits people can serve. Say two terms for the Senate and maybe three for the House. The founding fathers never looked at serving to be a lifetime job but of course they never dreamed all the perks that would thought up over the years. Where else can you give yourself a raise you don't deserve. If it were tied to performance they would owe us.
a very disgusted voter
Posted By Anonymous sandra wilton, Erie, Kansas : 10:30 PM ET
I think the Ethics Committee should remain in existence, but be someohow obliged to come up with a monthly bi-partisan report on anything going on that should concern them.

Let them make it as bland and impossible to read as they like, but let them be obliged to come up with it. They shouldn't be allowed to stand around pretending they don't notice the logs in eachother's eyes.

Either that, or an "Ethics Committee on the Ethics Committee" needs creating.

By the way, you really should get more sleep.
(just kidding)
Posted By Anonymous newyorkette, NY, NY : 10:31 PM ET
Congress should abolish the ethics committee tomorrow. It's painfully obvious that there's no sincere effort to investigate and/or police themselves. I'm reminded of the phrase "the fox guarding the hen house."
Posted By Anonymous Ralph Rose, Richmond, VA : 10:32 PM ET
Why not just do away with Congress?

They don't do anything after they are elected and go to Washington anyway do they? Seriously, most of them are retirement aged relects of ages gone by without any foundation in the realities of common people.

You indicate almost half the US population thinks the members of Congress are corrupt. I'm not suprised the other 50% are the lobbiest who don't want to ruin the scam they got going.
Posted By Anonymous M.E. Columbus, Ohio : 10:32 PM ET
In my opinion, no one will miss what is already silent! Put those political gurus doing something usfull for the people and the country!!!!!!
Posted By Anonymous John Rolls- Mound Valley- Kansas : 10:33 PM ET
An ethics committee only works when you're dealing with ethical people. That pretty much eliminates congress, the senate, government officials and other office holders.
Posted By Anonymous Gene Scala, New Castle, PA : 10:35 PM ET
Since Republicans are in charge of the Senate and the house and are unwilling to hold hearings on the Iraq war lies. What makes you think that they are willing to police themselves. Whatever happened to the "Contract with America"?
Posted By Anonymous Alex, Wichita KS : 10:36 PM ET
The ethics committee was useless the moment they chose to police themselves. Checks and balances can only be effective when it's outside the influence of those being monitored. That will never happen as none of them have the political fortitude for real reform. However, we should see the lowest incumbent retention in a long long time. The only real checks and balances remaining.
Posted By Anonymous John C, Panama City, FL : 10:36 PM ET
Most of the congress members get by the committee by making inside deals anyway. The comittee of eithics board is useless as long as it is headed by the congress members. It should be ran by impartial party without connection to one side or the other.
Posted By Anonymous Neal, Sacramento California : 10:37 PM ET
Why think in terms of "Throw Away" Committies? Are we not Americans? Its' broken?... Fix it!
Posted By Anonymous Billie Moscow Idaho : 10:37 PM ET
Congress has placed its head in the sand to avoid witnessing the massive corruption that it going on in its ranks. Isn't odd that they spend millions of dollars trying to get elected to a job that only pays them a few cents on each dollar they spend running for office. Are we stupid or do we have our heads in the sand too?
Posted By Anonymous R.J. Sbordone, Laguna Beach, Ca : 10:38 PM ET
There�s an Ethics Committee?

Both sides of the isle are now calling for new and improved rules. I wonder what makes them think that if the guilty parties didn�t play by the old rules, coming up with new rules will fix the problem? Until you remove the corrupt, the corruption will continue regardless of what the rules are.

Although the latest rounds of corruption allegations seem to be falling on the Republicans, I do not believe for one second that the Democrats are innocent. What �We the People� need to do is to vote anti-incumbent. I know that we will lose a few good legislators (very few), but I think the overwhelming result will be a much more effective and less corrupt government. I know this is wishful thinking, but stranger things have happened - I think.
Posted By Anonymous JW, Holt, Michigan : 10:39 PM ET
There are two problems to solve: 1) keeping the committee from just being a whitewash unit as we have seen in the last few years, and 2) to keep it from merely being a forum for harrassment as we had seen before. To address the first, the Ethics Committee should be restructured so that each major party (one holding 5% or more of the seats in the House) has the same number of members on it (say 4), and each and every member has the power to introduce items on the agenda and supoena power. To address the second, their rules should no accusaton, investigation, or interview becomes part of the public record until there is enough evidence of violation to reach a majority or deadlocked vote. Leaking information would be, itself, a violationn.
Posted By Anonymous David Porter, Mountain View, CA : 10:41 PM ET
No, the ethics committee has done a lot of good things in the 80s and the past. I think, rather than abolishing it, it just needs to find a spine, quite frankly.
Posted By Anonymous Sam, Austin, Tx : 10:45 PM ET
Obviously the committee is just for show. We need several, full time special prosecutors whose job it is to put elected officials in jail. Give them a large budget. It will save us all money in the long run and will likely give us a better country and world.
Posted By Anonymous S.R. Raybell, Republic, Washington : 10:45 PM ET
Most of the posts here seem to express cynism, hopelessness, or ideas about how somebody else can fix this problem. The real solution to corruption and ineffective politicians in a democracy is for individual voters to stay informed about the doings of the people they elect and vote out those who are not ethical or effective.

Such a solution would require people to spend time learning what their politicians are doing. Unfortunately most people would rather spend that time doing more important things, like watching American Idol. Thirty-five million people watch American Idol. How many people in this country do you think spent at least 30 minutes last week learning what their senators and representatives have done recently? In reality, most voters don't want to be responsible for holding their leaders accountable, and then they act indignant and betrayed this week when the people they were happy to ignore last week are found to have done something wrong.

You can't have it both ways. If you don't care enough to stay informed about the people you elect, don't whine when they don't always do what you want them to do. I know it shouldn't be that way, but it is, and no amount of whining about how it should be is going to change anything.
Posted By Anonymous Larry, Chapel HIll, NC : 10:46 PM ET
If we abandon Congress will anyone notice?
Posted By Anonymous Jeff Haynes, Arlington, VA : 10:51 PM ET
You're right on the money, Larry of Chapel Hill, NC.

The only problem is most of America is too busy taking in American Idol right now to digest your comments on this blog.
Posted By Anonymous Stacy OC CA : 10:54 PM ET
Ethics is a word thrown around, but no one in government seems to know the meaning. Maybe it's time for the American people to stand up and vote them out of government.
Posted By Anonymous Jean Peoria IL : 10:56 PM ET
we need term limits as after a time all the politicans think they are the elete and can do no wrong as they are above the electorate in knowledge and intelligence...They are not in touch with the real world or main stream in any way...
Posted By Anonymous Ron Pruitt Quincy, Il. : 10:57 PM ET
It seems incredable that it would even be an option, sort of like getting rid of the filibuster, given the current state of things. You would think that elected officials would have to be accountable to someone other than themselves, considering that they serve by, and theoretically for, the will of the people. However, givin the cozy relationships this administration has with corporate interests (i.e. Enron, the drug companies writing the medicare program, energy companies deciding the energy policy, chemical lobbyists working at the EPA, and so on)it should be no surprise to anyone (not to excuse them)that an environment of corruption and hypocrisy has been fostered in our nations capital. I believe we, as a country, have reached a new all-time low, when it is even up for discussion to get rid of the ethics committee!! Shame on them, but more importantly, SHAME ON US as a society for allowing our comfort, greed and self-interest to leed us into this situation in the first place!! There is no better time then the present to start to clean house (no pun intended, house get it?) and restore some credibility to our country.
Posted By Anonymous Joshua Walker, San Francisco CA : 10:57 PM ET
The only thing that wil keep them honest is people like you.They can not do it by themselves. The media needs to be the third estate like it should be not let them manage the news. I so appreciate your reporting.
Posted By Anonymous Ann Oliver Cheney, Wa : 10:59 PM ET
The U.S. should do what they do in Vermont.

Abolish political contributions and/or reduce them down to essentially nothing.

Let people find out about candidates on their own rather than via candidates running ads.

The ads are so obtuse these days that you don't get any sense of who a candidate is anyway.

We need more INFORMATION about politicians, who pays them, how they have voted, and a hell of a lot less ads.

Ban political contributions and fund more disclosure related to who they have relationships with, what businesses they own, and how they have voted in the past.
Posted By Anonymous Kyle, Atlanta, GA : 11:01 PM ET
Ethics seem to apply to everyone but Congress.
Posted By Anonymous David Hannigan, Newport, RI : 11:07 PM ET
Ethics, the Republicans have been sabotaging the Ethics committee for years. Yes, there is a 5/5 split but the Republicans want to keep an unfair advantage by packing the committee with their own in key positions so as to derail any true hearings. This is the epitemy of corruption that they have come to be infamous for. It is rotten and corrupt from the top on down with coverup after coverup. When will the public react and get rid of these corrupt politicians.
Posted By Anonymous Paul, San Diego, Ca : 11:14 PM ET
Proper oversight of Congressional ethics can only be done by an independent, nonpolitical branch of the government. For example the Judicial Branch... er, uh, OK, it can't be done. Just forget about it.
Posted By Anonymous Jason, New York NY : 11:16 PM ET
honestly, nobody will notice if the ethic committee is abolished so they may as well do it. however, that is not the way to go about things, because abolishing the committee is NOT going to solve the problems of corruption in Congress. Ethics NEEDS to be incorporated in our government, but i'm not so sure that it will ever happen again...
Posted By Anonymous susan, north hollywood, ca : 11:20 PM ET
Brilliant idea - moreover, the time and money saved in abolishing the useless committee might equate to some sort of tax break..?
Posted By Anonymous Rita Hagen, New York NY : 11:22 PM ET
Keep the ethics committee and improve upon it.. Start anew if need be, tear it down and rebuild it with a true and honest foundation, a new committee to seek the truth, to seek justice!
Posted By Anonymous Aaron Orlowski Salt Lake City, UT : 11:24 PM ET
ther is no such thing as ethics in Washington so why have a committe there are a joke.
Posted By Anonymous Lee Brydge,Lyndhurst,Va. : 11:24 PM ET
Yes they should get rid of the ethics committee. Since they already made a truce, what would it take to investigate someone or do something productive? Maybe they could disassemble and apply themselves to something that would actually benefit the American people. How about something useful like keeping up the President's baseball field?
Posted By Anonymous Brad, Three Rivers, Michigan : 11:25 PM ET
What does it matter anymore? Lobbiest now write our Laws. Corperations determine the Vote Counts, and now despotism is the only form of Government in the "The Homeland" suitable for us, and what we had once known as "The Republic", is just a diminished echo of the past.
Posted By Anonymous Chris, San Diego, CA : 11:25 PM ET
The question is, why should Congress be in charge of their own ethics investigations? Isn't that like a murderer investigating itself? Why doesn't the checks and balances system cover this? A third party isn't neccessary, but the executive or judicial branch should be in charge of this.
Posted By Anonymous Adam Didech, Long Grove, IL : 11:26 PM ET
Ethics in politics, or Politics in ethics. Depending on the view, those two words can have diverse meaning. However, if politicians would hold themselves above the "below the belt" strategy than the criteria for ethics in politics would be taken more seriously. The future of politics in the United States is going to call on higher educated individuals who have a globalized perspective and knowledge comparative to broarder horizons. In this era of transnational corporations and neoliberalism politicians need to learn to be more pragmatic or, selective in the importance and relevance of the topics at hand.
Posted By Anonymous Devon Cochran, Baton Rouge, LA : 11:26 PM ET
No, certainly do NOT abolish the Ethics Committee;rather figure out a way to give it more teeth. Perhaps this could be done by a random rotation of its members ,rather than having them selected by the parties for their timidity. Perhaps more restraints on lobbyists would make the members of this committee more vocal.
Posted By Anonymous John Samet : 11:31 PM ET
Hmmm, a truce on congressional ethics. On top of that, a self governed Ethics committee. In essence I see this committee as an oxymoron.
Posted By Anonymous Jodie Boseck, Minneapolis MN : 11:32 PM ET
Abolish it? NO

Isn't letting a crime occur just as bad as helping committ it? We need to bring the 10 committee members up on Federal charges.
Posted By Anonymous Wade Myers, Knoxville, TN : 11:33 PM ET
There should be an independent comitee made up of non politicians to oversee all ethics investigations. The government is always saying that the private sector does it better than the government so let it be from outside of the government.
Posted By Anonymous Jason,Wichita Falls,Texas : 11:34 PM ET
The Ethics Committee should be made up of Citizens and their reports should go to the Justice Department and all press outlets.

The politians cannot police themselves.

Legislation should be introduced by the Ethics Committee and must be passed by Congress, that if an elected offical of any capacity and for any office in the United States is found guilty of a crime, then they have committed this crime as a elected official and a citizen and they should be subject to double the penalty for the crime and lose any governmental retirement or pension rights from holding that or any other elected office.

Those who are elected to Congress can hold that or any other office no more than 7 years.

It is time to stop politians from taking money from taxpayers and lining their and others pockets.
Posted By Anonymous Woodie D. Goodspeed San Antonio, Texas : 11:34 PM ET
Using the terms "ethics" and "government" in the same sentence is ridiculous. No one has noticed that those officials who lied about WMDs are STILL there governing us for a SECOND TERM! If WE don't care about their "ethics", why should THEY? It's time WE took back OUR government and ENDED their LIES!
Posted By Anonymous Ted Cherochak, Jessup, PA : 11:39 PM ET
The Ethics Committee, as is, doesn't do anything. But abolition isn't the answer either. Instead, have an independant committee.

Also, the current rules say that only members of Congress can refer other members of Congress to the Committee. What sense does that make? There are many, many, many ethical violations that should be taken up by an Ethics Committee, but because of this rule, none of it can even see the light of day. If this truely is a government of the people, by the people and for the people, the populace should be able to determine what happens. Otherwise, we'll just have more bribery, more K Street Projects....more business as usual.
Posted By Anonymous Steven in Santa Clara, CA : 11:40 PM ET
I admit, I am one of half of the US population that thinks congress is corrupt in one form or another.

The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct has been handcuffed and silenced for years, and now we are talking about its silent death. No one would notice if it went away, but the result would be felt long term: The more that people that believe that Congress is corrupt, the less faith they have in the system which would make more people believe it was corrupt, and so on (downward spiral).

Who really cares if it is used for political attacks on each party? Aren't people smart enough to determine that? IF the committee were actually doing something, then maybe, just maybe, it would be less than 50% of the US population believing that Congress is corrupt.

Hey, those 10 members of the committee are collecting a paycheck for their "service". We should make them actually DO something for that paycheck (I know my employer does!).
Posted By Anonymous Rich, Southern NJ : 11:40 PM ET
Ethics is a dead issue in Congress these days. The very people we trusted to lead us are stacking the deck for themselves and their political bedfellows. Question is, when will we as a people stand and do something about it. What ever happen to "The Power of the People" can change anything if we work together for a common good..."US"
Posted By Anonymous Lynn Douglas, Atlanta GA : 11:41 PM ET
If it isn't being used then shut it down. There is no lack of problems Congress can be spending their time on. However I believe you miss an opportunity. Why not look at the usefulness of the federal government it�s self. We have 50 duplicates of the US government and 50 copies of anything are too many. If we are going to start shutting down and stream lining like the corporations have had to do then lets shut down all but the Fed, Military and anything doing with foreign affairs. We don't need a Supreme Court that is being stacked in favor of one view or another we have 50 Supreme courts. We have highway commissions and everything in between. The time for large central governments and their cost are over. Lets cut the lobbyist AND the "protect your own crowd� out and then stream line the entire country to 5 states. Let�s just get serious and put everyone�s ethics and loyalties on trial. Do you want a future or are you so selfish as to only want to save your job. This is the question that should be asked and answered by Congress.
Posted By Anonymous Raymond Brusstar, San Jose Calif : 11:41 PM ET
Yes it is hypocritical to have an Ethics Office, when it is clear no one in Congress has even a single
ethic. I say abolish the Office
Posted By Anonymous Chaz Nordhaus, Oshkosh, Wi : 11:45 PM ET
It is obvious to me that Congress and other government agencies are incapable of regulating themselves. I think non-partisan citizen groups with supeona power should be appointed to oversee ethics in government.
Posted By Anonymous Martin Pratt, Mission, TX : 11:45 PM ET
There has to be some mechanism for exposing corruption in the Congress. I think that every dollar a lobbyist gives to a congressman means a dollar less influence that a citizen has. But how do you make it an effective body is it is populated by some of the people it is supposed to oversee. Perhaps there should be a special prosecutor subordinate to the Supreme Court.
Posted By Anonymous Mike, Gig Harbor, Washington : 11:48 PM ET
Take away the money and you take away the corruption and attraction to corrupt(able) politicians. Outlaw lobbyists. Period. And PAC's. Lobbyists are bottomdwelling denizens of backroom dealmaking and are influence peddlers without conscience or accountability. Get rid of them. The only ones who would object to this are the ones who would be deprived of the opportunity to buy-off a politician, or the receipient of the buy-off. We can afford to lose both.
Posted By Anonymous John Drexler, Arkansas : 11:52 PM ET
yes...we should keep the committee...and as friend told me the other day when we were talking about this...maybe teach it in school as a required class.
Posted By Anonymous dick engstrom, gold bar, wa : 11:56 PM ET
Congress has proven that it can not enforce its own rules, it is time for a radical new approach.

The ethics committee should be run by retired judges with impeccable records of integrity, 5 dems and 5 republicans and they should set the rules and adjudicate the accused. They should have subpeona power. Their deicisions should be final with no appeal. They should have the ultimate power of actually expelling a member if the violation warrants.

Self policing does not work without real adjudication and real eforcement.
Posted By Anonymous Douglas Penner, Albuquerque, New Mexico : 11:58 PM ET
no one will notice, no one will care. And corruption, the special interest dominance of american government, and partisan politics will continue amongst the children on capital hill. But as long as the economy is strong and unemployment is low, no one will really care that much.
Posted By Anonymous WS, Washington DC : 12:03 AM ET

The question about the ethics committee is moot. The true question is "Does the structure of our current government serve the people in the proper manner?" The answer is a resounding NO! The next question: "Will the people of America pull themselves away from 'Desperate Housewives', 'XBox', 'porn', 'the internet' and any other drug they use to numb the pain long enough to do something about? We shall see...
Posted By Anonymous Erik, NJ : 12:08 AM ET
Give the public all the dirt on both sides.
Then we can vote for the lesser of two evils.
Posted By Anonymous Gary Johnson - Orlando, FL : 12:14 AM ET
1) only 93 comments on this topic - i think that might give us some insight into how important folks think this is (might have been better off talking about a celebrity's ethics - that'll get people talking)
2) CNN is censoring feedback - isn't that a bit odd? can we truly have an open debate on this
3) every so often there are people who are in office, act responsibly and for the good of the nation - in the mean time most of the politians act no differntly that the rest of us.
4) finally - turning off the lights does what, save a few pennies? how about the bigger picture? Do the actions of our current political leaders reflect the values and beliefs of most Americans? Seems like we might be saying, "well, not really"
Posted By Anonymous Davis, Portland OR : 12:23 AM ET
There is no longer "Republicans" and "Democrats", it has all become the "Business" party. What we feel is of no consequence because even our own elected officials have their own agendas, leaving us with "lip service" that is sickening. Don't tell me that any of them can honestly find merit in alloting however many BILLION dollars to exploration to Saturn or some other planet we will NEVER live on, and in the same breath tell me I might not be able to collect MY Social Security when I retire! Please, give me a break
Posted By Anonymous Norm, Richmond, California : 12:25 AM ET
Nobody would notice...unless the toothless mainstream Media would pick up and run with the story. There would almost assuredly be a brou-ha-ha then. But then, the chances of that happening are roughly equivalent to the nation noticing if nobody mentioned it at all, which is slim.
Posted By Anonymous Sarah Calkins, Cypress CA : 12:26 AM ET
I think it's fair to say that they have no ethics. Abolish it!
Posted By Anonymous Anonymous : 12:29 AM ET
Ethics of elected officials will always need oversight - the problem is Congress policing itself, which in such a partisan environment will never work. We need an independant federal office of ethics to oversee all elected officials, that is staffed by career experts - like the Federal Reserve or Health and Human Serices.
Posted By Anonymous Andy, Denver, CO : 12:34 AM ET
Like all great politicians they will wait this out and the news media will find a new story to persue and this issue will be history. Our only true voice that we have is the vote...don't like it out. But alas...if you vote out your congressmen who are corrupt, you will replace a man who has clout in Congress and your state will end up with little or non of the pork barreling that is going on. When we as a governed people have had enough and hold our office holders to a higher standard, then there will be change and only then.
Posted By Anonymous Terry Preston Klamath Falls, Oregon : 12:37 AM ET
Given the blatant unrepenting display of unethical conduct on the part of members of Congress -- greed and lies, power and wealth -- the Congress should strengthen its committees that review ethics, give them more power, and insist upon their constancy.

Abolish the committees: ABSOLUTELY NOT. Make them work.
Posted By Anonymous Francesco, Greensboro, NC : 12:46 AM ET
The issue is more complex than corruption, whether its being monitored and ferreted out by a crack committee or swept under the rug in an 'old boy network' fashion.

The problem lies at the very root of our consumption (cars, food, homes, paper or plastic, et al) and the structure of the supply lines for our lives of luxury.

Lobbying was once a tool for grass roots organizations that fought for cleaner drinking water or funding for schools when I was a boy in the 70's.

Previous to this we had Unions to protect us from being left to starve should we be injured in a dangerous factory job. These too have long been guilty by association with other organizations of less than conservative business ethics.

Now the lobbyists are being employed by massive corporate entities that use them to help them meet our demand in a world of ever shrinking resources.

Also remember, Corporations enjoy rights like citizens, which makes them unique. They have vast financial resources at their disposals, something that the average citizen doesn't have access to without the support of a philanthropist or large groups of small supporters.

Considering the greed we've seen as of late from the corporate world, a reeling in the reigns is in order, but what's needed is on the level of an updated New Deal.

This country needs a Roosevelt to strip away the rights of the corporation and give them back to the common citizen. Those very rights that corporations enjoy and utilize to improve their bottom lines are driven by profit and loyal only to the stockholders. This very structure infringes on the very definition of freedom for those that must live in their back yards, next to their factories or in communities where wages drop dramatically because of their stores.

The 21st century is more akin to the medieval fiefdoms of old where the peasants worked the land for starvation wages.

Today, the �American Peasant� that is unlucky enough to be left in the wake of corporate greed may consider themselves lucky. I�d rather lose it all to Enron than find out my kids are playing in a Love Canal outside my back door.

Posted By Anonymous Lawrence Thorne, New York, NY : 12:46 AM ET
Each family uses the saying, "If it is not used, get rid of it." in its housekeeping. That is good advise in this case on the national level. It is a joke that we even have a committee that deals with ethics and lets it sit on the sidelines in these corrupt hours.
Posted By Anonymous Joe Kagle, Kingwood, Texas : 12:47 AM ET
Look at the leader. Look at all the half truths and or retractions already being made about the state of the union speech. Look at the theft in Iraq. I think the whole thing has gone sour with lies on top of lies.
Posted By Anonymous Anonymous : 12:47 AM ET
the ethics committe should NOT BE ABOLISHED
Posted By Anonymous jerry jezowski emeryville ca. : 12:49 AM ET
There should be an Ethics Committee directed by Patrick Fitzgerald ! Representatives and Senators should be on a two term limit ONLY and when their term is up they should subscribe to our Social Security and our Healthcare system - no more expensive "life pensions and luxury healthcare". Become regular folk again and live like we do.

Things would change in a big hurry!
Posted By Anonymous Rosie -Tucson, Arizona : 12:50 AM ET
It is unlikely that Congress will impose term limits on themselves, although term limits would be helpful to ensure a steady stream of fresh people in the Congress.

There is one way average Americans can impose term limits on Congress: Do not vote for incumbents, unless you are sure that the one running against him/her is much worse. This action does not take time away from you -like harassing your congressman for a change that he/she won't make. Just cast your vote at the next elections following the rule above.
Posted By Anonymous Gabor, Columbus, OH : 12:54 AM ET
Like has been said, what we need is a law against special interest groups giving congressmen gifts, trips or any other item of value. No corporation would allow its employees to accept gratuities of the magnitude our congressmen receive every day. Likewise, election campaigns should not be funded by these groups.
Posted By Anonymous Mike, New Egypt, NJ : 12:59 AM ET
It would be great to do away with a (currently) useless committee, but that would send the wrong message to the American people. What congressperson is going to submit legislation to get rid of this? The political repercussions would be severe; a sad but true fact. If only the McCain-Feingold bills on campaign-finance reform were taken seriously, bribes would not be so easy to come by, and K Street would have significantly less effect on legislation.
Posted By Anonymous Patrick Krepel, Lincoln Nebraska : 1:07 AM ET
It's ludacris to think that Congress would be able to control themselves ethically, when they cannot even do so with regard to money (fiscal responsibility). If the ethics committee was abolished, no one would notice, because it does not police congress on what it is supposed to anyway. Those congressmen who actually may practice proper ethics will never speak up and say anything to congress, or the press for that matter, because they are too afraid of being politically trampled. It has come to a point in this country where there are no checks on anyone, and if there are, your persecuted for it. The newest supreme justice proves this point exactly; this country is in a downward spiral and will never rise again as a respected nation, as least not for an extremely long time.
Posted By Anonymous Morgan, Bellingham, WA : 1:12 AM ET
The major flaw with the Ethics committee is simply that there is no incentive for these men to do their job. They would only make their peers afraid. They would alienate themselves from their political allies. They are trapped on an island amidst men just like themselves, and to use their appointed powers is to ruin their political position. None of them want to chance that. Or have their own failings pointed out. There are some mostly honest senators and representatives. But in this day and age, to be completely honest and get anywhere in politics, basically amounts to political suicide. You have to confrom, compromise, and make partnerships or you will find yourself immediately stymied to the point of uselessness. To believe otherwise is to be completely ignorant of politics.

There should absolutely be a third party investigative committee created. I don't know that it is possible to create one that is completely unopinionated. Or completely uncorruptable. But it should take place and the members of said institution should not be appointed by the elected government. The members of this group might have political ties. There should be no corporate ties, and they should renounce their political and religious ties point blank, if they are to take a position. Keep your religion to your own free time. A council of twelve would work fine. They would need to be completely and utterly impartial concerning their decisions. They would need to have incentives to remain that way. They would need to be elected by popular vote. Screw the Electoral college crap. You could have one elected from each of the 12 regional circuits of the United States Courts of Appeals. They would need to be a completely transparent organization. All research, and the opinions for actions recommended by the committee would need to be made completely public material. Thereby increasing the damning effect of being investigated by this committee. Recommendations to expel politicians based on ethics violations ought to be put on ballots, and special public elections should be held every year to determine their fates. Serious fines and serious repercussions ought to levied if there was an ethical breach not rating expulsion.

They ought to be held to the same or higher standards than the Supreme Court.

Basically, the government has become a corrupt and bloated entity, which no longer works for the overall good of every U.S. citizen. The government of the U.S. is a playground of the affluent, controlled by corporations, and a platform for personal opinions to be put forth as rule of law.

The U.S. Government is supposed to represent the people of the United States. We could seriously reinforce that bond by creating a entity like the one I described above.

But who watches the watchdog? Who oversees the investigators? I don't know. But I also don't think I should have to lay out the entire groundwork. I think I've done a fairly good job just defining how this committee would be created and operated.
Posted By Anonymous Don Burnham, Little Rock, Arkansas : 1:16 AM ET
No, Congress should keep the lights on with regards to the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

If the lights were turned out, what would the stories of the large media services say? Several commentaries, segments, and/or whole hours of time devoted to the story? Mr. Cooper will get to do a whole Anderson Cooper 360 segment, if not an hour, on how people feel about the disbanding of Congress� Ethics Committee, which I might add would be good (subjective). Local news will grab what CNN, MSNBC, CBS, and especially World News Tonight have to say. Other national sources will claim exclusives. Senators will get in the spot light and denounce their colleges in the House as unethical and moving into dark waters. The House will defend their actions as pursuant to the direction and motion the United States. The President will stay at bay due to other events in the world such as unfolding news in Iraq or Iran.

This is but a taste of the easily imagined path the leadership will take. Then again I am only speaking hypothetically on questions that asked for very limited answers.

What is the real question, alluded to in Anderson�s introduction to the question and his answer? Corruption? Abuse of Power? Dare I say, God complex.

Congress needs to get rid of the corrupt image and empower the committee, the committee members, and the entire House to do their JOB! I would think that their job description would include:
-The ability to use civil discourse and other human emotions to enact all laws that formulate the United States of America
-The highest level of integrity
-An understanding of their constituents, as well as the People of the United States of America
-To uphold the letter as well as, and even more important, the SPIRIT of the Constitution of the United States of America
-Realization that society is dynamic and law is static
-They are human and failure is built into our humanity. It is what makes us individuals. If we did not make mistakes how would we learn and correct our mistakes.

These are my opinions. I was asked to give them and as such chose to give them. I apologize if you thought it was a waste of your time. You chose to read the post, I did.
Posted By Anonymous Scott, Tempe, AZ : 1:17 AM ET
It seems to me that there are no ethics so therefore the committe is moot!

If they would stop passing bills they don't read (relying on explanations from lobbyists) which affect all of us and pay more attention to the needs of the people then we would not need term limits. Each state would have a go to person they can trust to get the job done.
No one would be junior and no one would be senior. The'd all be coming from a respected seat. Unfortunately power corrups and Absolute power corrupts absolutely. I could name names, but I'd rather not.
Posted By Anonymous Carol levine Andover, MA : 1:24 AM ET
I work for the U.S. Army as a DOD civilian and I'm expected to act in an ethical manner or I would be fired. I can't take anything of value from a contractor or anyone doing business with the government. No special rules should be needed for congress, they should be held to the same high ethics as any government employee.
Posted By Anonymous Bob Carper, Alsenborn, Germany : 1:24 AM ET
In my opinion I believe Congress has reached the point that it no longer cares what the people think nor what the Constitution says or stands for. Once they are elected they quickly forget the promises they make to the voting public. This Country was founded and should be governed on the laws of the Constitution and The Bill of Rights not on the so called popular opinion.
Posted By Anonymous William Lehman, Mount Olive , Alabama : 1:30 AM ET
It is so disappointing to see how the fingerpointing ends at the lobbyists' easy "get out of jail free" card for the legislators to play. Honesty and scruples are definitely not "in" in Washington. They have to clean their own houses before going after anyone else. It's quite amazing to watch this play out.
Posted By Anonymous Jane Juergens, St. Louis, MO : 1:30 AM ET
Our congressmen need to refrain from taking gifts from these people. It should be a law that would put them in jail same as a person that robs a bank.
Posted By Anonymous Gary Chance , Ozark, Ar. : 1:32 AM ET
An ethics committee in congress is like dogs licking up their own vomit. Just a bunch of people convinced of their own rhetoric.

This is why there are checks and balances. The Abramoff scandal is in the courts, where the dog will be taught a little discipline if necessary.
Posted By Anonymous Daniel Becker, Minneapolis, MN : 1:35 AM ET
It appears the Bush administration, satiated with scandels and coverups, is trying to put the lights out on our constitution. For God's sake, when are we the people going to begin to hold our elected officials accountable for thier corrupt actions? Put the lights out? Hell no. I say turn on the spot light and the heat and hold the commitee responisible for their actions or more likely inactions. Democrats or Republicans, if they can't do the job then let's vote them out next election and vote in those with the courage to stop the blantant corrpution and those not on the lobbyest dole and who will bring back honesty, dignity and truth to our political system that appears to be distinigrating before our eyes.
Posted By Anonymous NR, South Pasadena, CA : 1:42 AM ET
No, what I think is that Congress should step up to the plate and police them selves. Without that, the American public will never have faith in our elected leaders.
Posted By Anonymous Skip Fish, Columbia, TN : 1:42 AM ET
Doesn't this sound very similar to Major League Baseball governing their steroid testing?
Posted By Anonymous Jeremy, San Diego, CA : 1:59 AM ET
yeah they are corrupt. and also just about every other corporation. Even most school boards are corrupt thinking about money first then students. You look at the government and its not We the people. The government sees us as They the people. I dont they are thinking of the USA's interests. Yeah there is a war but was it needed. no WMD. No chemicals. Nothing. That part of the world has been in turmoil for hundreds of years. We will not change it quick. The government is corrupt. They just dont know it because they are blinded by the power of the all mighty dollar. You know coruption comes in many ways. Cheating the people of Louisiana from fast prompt response for aid. We should have been waiting at the perimeter of the storm and rush in. Its called planning. You learn that in business to set up a game plan. Prepare. Even the boy scouts tell you that. Most of the government are carrer guys. That is in government I mean. Most of the guys and gals have probably had a job with real people. They dont know us or our needs as Americans. We need to take a closer look at whats going on and straighten this out. Health Care is failing. The poor are getting poorer and poorer. The rich guys are lining up to put their hand in the pot when Iraq supposedly becomes a democracy. Haliburton ring a bell? Money Money Money!!! Dont forget who might be coming in 2012 or maybe as early as 2008. Jeb you know him. well anyway lets get back on track. Carrer politicians are no good. I mean look at your local school board and up. Make sure you know who you vote for. Dont just look at a name. Just because a father was a good leader doent mean that any siblings are relatives will be any better. As for the committee it is proven unsuccessfull. I mean since then corruption has gotten way worse. Look at all the hand outs to the companies who have lobbists. Regular people should run for office. Dont be afraid. the best politicians have been regukar folks. Run out the carrer guys. They can get a job with their corporate buddies. Meanwhilel we can take our government back.
Posted By Anonymous Marcos, Tempe AZ : 2:00 AM ET
It's wrong and unhelpful to suggest no public servant is ethical. It's also silly to assume congress will remain untempted by the huge plums legally thrown their way, let alone the illegal ones. The system has to change. Campaigns have to be paid for publicly (tax the big companies, they pay for it now... we can remove the element of coersion in the current system though.) Force thoughtful discourse back into the political give and take. Don't worry about the dirt, it's always been there (do you know what they called Washington? Jefferson? Jackson?), it always will. Lets focus on the structure of the political system and how it forces politicians to spend so much time begging for cash. Eliminate that, and we might have some productivity!
Posted By Anonymous John M. Superior ,Co. : 2:00 AM ET
We have the most corrupt, crime, and crony-ridden government in our history. If we have no oversight, what hope do we have for honest government?
Posted By Anonymous Bob Clore, Columbia City, OR : 2:03 AM ET
As long as the Bush/Republicans are running this country there will be no ethics. Unethical people have no ethics.
Posted By Anonymous David Richards, Sun City, CA : 2:04 AM ET
Turn off the lights and send the ethics committee from whence they came. I sincerely doubt that anyone will miss this group of miscreants.

While on the subject of ethics, what's happening with the 400+ members of our Congress who have been named as taking money from the kind of lobbyists? I think they too should be sent from whence they've come. Washington would probably be a better place without them.
Posted By Anonymous David, Iowa City, Iowa : 2:06 AM ET
Keep it,rebuild it, and make it do what it is supposed to do! Forbid it to adopt a "truce' attitude or position and require it to investigate charges of ethics violations by any and all parties. Perhaps it should be a separate appointed body and truly independent from congress.
Posted By Anonymous John Cooper,Ocean View,HI. : 2:07 AM ET
How is it that in 100+ posts nobody mentions: power corrupts? With no observable limit on the powers of gov't these days, ingenious folks will always manage to direct gov't power to their own selfish benefit (lest their opponents do so first). No law or commitee keeps flies from honey if you can't close the jar. Where are the Libertarians?
Posted By Anonymous Mr. Bob Dobalina, OH : 2:26 AM ET
Here are the members of the socalled "Ethics Commitee":

Doc Hastings, Washington, Chairman
Judy Biggert, Illinois
Lamar Smith, Texas
Melissa Hart, Pennsylvania
Tom Cole, Oklahoma


Alan B. Mollohan, West Virginia
Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Ohio
Gene Green, Texas
Lucille Roybal-Allard, California
Michael F. Doyle, Pennsylvania

They are up for re-election in November. They should all be removed from office. Regardless of party affiliations, they are not doing the job and need to be replaced.
Posted By Anonymous Jack Thompson, Kirkwood, MO : 2:35 AM ET
The idea of one group of Congressmen questioning the ethics of another group of Congressmen is absurd even by the standards of Washington D. C. If something illegal is really going on, we need make sure that the law enforcement community takes care of the situation, and the last time I checked, Congress writes laws while the Executive enforces them.
Posted By Anonymous Joe, Columbia IL : 2:38 AM ET
I think you have hit on the major issue. It isn't the lobbyist's fault, it's their job to do whatever is necessary to get the result they are being paid to get.
But what is an elected official's job? Isn't it to do whatever is in their power to carry out the wishes of their constituents? Apparently not. Aside from the ones who think their sole purpose in life is to keep their party in power for as long as possible, right or wrong, there are also the ones who don't think that their guaranteed government pension is going to be enough to support the lifestyle they would like to become accustomed to.
Even worse, though, are the ones who feel that they know what is best for their constituents even if it isn't what their constituents want.
Along with mandatory ethics training, probably the first time many congresspersons will have ever heard the word, I think they need to be reminded that they are supposed to at least try to express the will of the people. Not the will of the party, or the will of a lobbyist, or even the will of the president if it conflicts with the will of the people.
Posted By Anonymous Rory Starkweather, Cabool Missouri : 2:49 AM ET
Even with the election of a new majority leader today, there are many Republicans who would be happy to abolish the Ethics committee. That being said, most of them know that such an action would be viewed as just another attempt to cover up relationships with a lobby firm. Not to mention the opening that would give the Democrats as an election issue. More journalist need to keep an even sharper eye on the Republican lead House and keep any and all attempts at sweeping anything under the usual rug in the fore front of media coverage. If you and other journalist allow the Far Right, Conservatives, and Religous minded reshapers to have their elected hand servants ride rough shod and do whatever, without the publics knowledge, we will all one day wake up to the 'Theocracy' these 'Amer-ricans' who highjacked the Republican Party years ago, so desperately crave. Continued media coverage of the workings of the House Ethics committee, or nonworkings must be kept before the public, as an all important safeguard. These Right Wingers and Reglious Fundalmentalist have a stated goal of turning this 'Democracy' into a 'Christian Theocracy'. Sounds like the Taliban or Hamas doesn't it?
Posted By Anonymous Ken, Pine Bluff, AR : 2:56 AM ET
Republicans rigged house majority leader vote in the first round; they had more ballots than there are republicans. How can any one in their right mind trust them?
Posted By Anonymous Steven, Sherman Oaks, CA : 2:56 AM ET
re: abolishing the ethics committee. So if I understand your article correctly, since everybody in Congress is corrupt anyways, we shouldn't even make the token effort to curb it? Gosh, yeah, THAT will help. NOT! Here's a novel idea -- why don't we keep the committee but kick out all of the corrupt politicians? Too radical? Well, you know us Californians -- we live in LaLaLand.
Posted By Anonymous Joy Abbott, Sacramento,CA : 3:09 AM ET
Ban lobbyists; Ban soft money; Ban most political advertisments; Term Limits. We must remove temptations and strengthen the punishments for breaking the rules. Perhaps a committee of Representatives to monitor the Senators and vice versa. We have become a mockery of Democracy.
Posted By Anonymous D. Long Indianapolis, Indiana : 3:20 AM ET
Congress already turned out the lights! They now operate in the dim lights of a backroom! or maybe they are dim lights themselves.
The remedy: read, think, listen, think, watch, think, then ponder them all, MAKE UP YOUR OWN MIND then VOTE!!
Posted By Anonymous M. K. Malone, Elk Grove, CA : 3:24 AM ET
to Adam in Il.
I agree with you except for one thing, the executive branch is corrupt & the judicial branch has yet to prove itself.
Posted By Anonymous M. K. Malone, Elk Grove, CA : 3:31 AM ET
I am one of those people that think Congress is corrupt. They constantly look out for themselves and not the American People. The earmarks for example help them stay in office but increase the deficit. This doesn't make sense. They will never stop receiving lobbyist money.
Posted By Anonymous Steve Ehrhardt Hideaway,TX : 3:34 AM ET
I don't think anyone will notice. Most politians are corrupt and they don't really want change anything. Very sad situation. Hopefully things will change with the 2006 election.
Posted By Anonymous Brigitte, Casselberry FL : 9:27 AM ET
The whole Congress needs to be cleaned up. Someone please tell me what is ethical about being elected by the people only to spend a large part of your time chasing money from special interest and big business so you can get re-elected?

The people of this country deserve better and we should demand that this committee does it job after all they do work for us. If Democrat or Republican is found to have broken the rules they should be removed from office. That is what happens in the real world if you lie or cheat and why sould we expect less from our Government.
Posted By Anonymous Mike Salasek Ft Collins CO : 10:53 AM ET
Washington D.C. is the most corrupt city in this nation. Every person in D.C. does not have a conscience. I am so tired of hearing how wonderful the economy is doing. He doesn't go to the local stores and see how people are not buying anything unless it is an absolute necessity. The economy is lousy, thanks to him not putting a price cap on oil and natural gas. Congress isn't helping either. Nobody in D.C. knows what the average american has to go through each day just to survive.
It's horrible, the government for the people is not for the people , but for thenselves. Welcome to the George Bush "ME" generation.
Posted By Anonymous TracyLyn Detroit,MI : 11:26 AM ET
Posted By Anonymous DUCK SLC : 11:52 AM ET
Dear 360 Blog,

Today's corruption in Congress is nothing compared to 50, 100, 150 , 200 and 250 years ago. I guess the re-cycle topic machine said it was time to print this one.

Posted By Anonymous Arthur, Hayward, California : 11:53 AM ET
There is no ethics in government, corporate America, churches or schools. It is all about power and greed. Somewhere along the line, the kinder, gentler America lost its vision.
Posted By Anonymous Penny, Trinity, AL : 12:00 PM ET
Posted By Anonymous DOUG FLANARY, PADUCAH, KY. : 12:13 PM ET
I submitted a comment last night, and apparently, although I thought it was pretty restrained, it didn't pass the censors. Hmmmm.
One thing I didn't think of until today is: "What does it indicate when Congress feels that they need a Standards/Ethics committee?" Not the voters, but the Congressmen, at one time, felt that they needed some kind of oversight in the area of ethics.
It doesn't sound like anyone disputes the fact that this oversight is necessary. It doesn't sound like anyone disputes the fact that the current group is keeping a low profile. Who knows what might happen if we could find some way to make the members of this committee do their jobs? Now all we need to do is find a way to get them to do what they are supposed to do. I hate to say it, but it might actually cut corruption overall if we bribed the members of the Ethics Committee to do their jobs.
Posted By Anonymous Rory Starkweather, Cabool Missouri : 12:13 PM ET
Remove all people involved and this should include " W "
Posted By Anonymous Doug Ledbetter : 12:24 PM ET
People are corrupted by money. Big money, big corruption. As long as we permit big money into our political system, we will continue to see big corruption. Big money comes into our political system via PACs. Political Action Committee money is legalized bribery. Forty years ago, when the law changed and started to allow this legalized bribery, we started to lose control of our government, but the GOP,through the "K-street Project" has brought this bribery to a new art form.
If Congress really wanted to clean up the corruption, they would get rid of PACs. But they are addicted to the money, and the power it brings, so they will not. They will instead offer changes to rules for using the gym, or the toilet, or the cafeteria.
They are protecting the PACs like an NFL player with the ball headed for the goal line.
Posted By Anonymous Solitaire, Apex, NC : 12:32 PM ET
We nolong live in a country who's elected officials work for the populous. They now work for themselves. The have forgotten who elected them but rather who donates to them. They retire and live like king with our money.They don't even leave welfare for the rest of us.
Posted By Anonymous Lester Tavens Cleveland, Ohio : 12:53 PM ET
They should not abolish the committee but the committee should be required to make public the abusers no matter with party they belong to. Isn't time we clean up are act in government.
Posted By Anonymous Paul B Moyer Fairfield Glade Tn. : 12:55 PM ET
I am 30 years old, two children and a teacher in the public school system. I do not think that I am alone when I write that I have almost 0! respect for our government and the system that protects such hypocrits. In the past ten years, I and other citizens like me have become numb to the crime and outright lies that infest our nations capitol. Perhaps we turn the other cheek because we are so busy trying to survive and keep our own heads afloat. I am outraged at the cost of "decent" childcare, and healthcare for my family. I really do not know how anyone living in or below a middle class income will ever be able to remain healthy, and sane with such outrageous financial burdens. Where are the priorities for our countries families, children and elderly? I will continue to work hard as a public school teacher, and I will do what I can to help the overwhelming need in my community, but from my government, sadly I expect VERY LITTLE SUPPORT.
Posted By Anonymous Anna Streano, Portland, Oregon : 1:12 PM ET
It makes no sense to have a committee that does't do anything to make things better. Put these people to work on something else. I don't think we have a chance to make things right when the people making the rules don't have to abide bt them.
Posted By Anonymous John Armitage Michigan : 1:26 PM ET
I believe that the ordinary citizens of the United States should be picked randomly to set on the ethics committee. I also believe that all citizens of the United States should have a hand in deciding our nations ethics laws. The problem we face is that of crooked politicians writing the laws to protect themselves, or doing away with ethics committees, since after all few have ethics to begin with.
Posted By Anonymous Bradley, Nashville TN : 1:30 PM ET
Yeah, you can turn the lights off on the ethics committee...and the White House for the matter. Washington, I'm sick of it!! Scoundrels and bums living off the taxpayer who is getting soaked. Time for a new boss and a new team..c'mon elections!!!!
Posted By Anonymous John H., McAlester Oklahoma : 5:46 PM ET
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