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Issues of Ethics--Business as Usual
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Senator Barack Obama points out that, with Democrats in the majority in both houses of Congress, now is the time to listen to the voters' voices that say, "Reform Now."

But, to our great disappointment, the Democrats are proving to be Cowardly Lions after all:

Their initial proposals, laid out earlier this year, would prohibit members from accepting meals, gifts or travel from lobbyists, require lobbyists to disclose all contacts with lawmakers and bar former lawmakers-turned-lobbyists from entering the floor of the chambers or Congressional gymnasiums.

None of the measures would overhaul campaign financing or create an independent ethics watchdog to enforce the rules. Nor would they significantly restrict earmarks, the pet projects lawmakers can anonymously insert into spending bills, which have figured in several recent corruption scandals and attracted criticism from members in both parties. The proposals would require disclosure of the sponsors of some earmarks, but not all.

More and more I like the Senator from Illinois. Perhaps the Democratic Congress does not want to spend political capital on reform measures--there are so many areas to address--but the time to make progress on Ethics issues is now, when excesses and abominations are fresh in voters' minds, not later when they become a ho-hum topic.

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