Editorial: Vote for ethics reform on Capitol Hill
"Anxiety is palpable in the House as lawmakers try to wriggle out of a vote on whether to create an independent Office of Congressional Ethics. Despite last-minute cries of alarm and resistance from both sides of the aisle, the public is counting on Speaker Nancy Pelosi to stand fast and steer this overdue dose of ethics reform to passage.

Members should face up to a vote that tests their mettle — and most recent campaign promises — as upholders of ethical reform for the peoples’ House. We suggest lawmakers fight their anxiety by quietly repeating the name Jack Abramoff, Jack Abramoff — the imprisoned superlobbyist who corrupted House members — as a pre-vote mantra.

Or they could chant the name Rick Renzi, the House member indicted on 35 counts of fraud, money laundering and extortion for allegedly netting $700,000 in a political land scheme. He joins a half-dozen other members plus staffers already brought down, while the House ethics committee looked the other way.

Critics have compromised the measure enough by stripping subpoena power from the proposed integrity office. However anxious, the House can’t duck cleaning up its ethics act. Lawmakers may even find doing the right thing an impressive accomplishment to present to the voters back home."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Jack Abramoff, Jack Abramoff ... (The New York Times 2/28)

Get the Bill:
Establishing within the House of Representatives an Office of Congressional Ethics (H.J.Res 895)

Related Stories:
Rules revolt, ethics fiasco (The Hill 2/28)
Delay in House Vote on New Ethics Panel (The New York Times 2/28)