May 8, 2007

THE MOST ETHICAL CONGRESS EVER: I love this story, because it combines both “culture of corruption” and “greenhouse hypocrisy” angles all in one!

“Friends” can fly congressmen under new rules

Led by House Ethics Committee chair Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the House of Representatives on Wednesday unanmiously agreed to loosen strict rules on members’ acceptance of free airplane rides that were adopted when Democrats took over Congress in January.

The measure, adopted on a May 2 voice vote minutes before the House of Representatives adjourned at 11:59 p.m., was labeled as an effort to “clarify certain matters relating to official conduct” of the House of Representatives.

The change stipulated that members of Congress can fly their own airplanes on official business as well as accept “personal use of an aircraft … that is supplied by an individual on the basis of personal friendship.”

I wish I had some friends like that. Oh, wait, it’s not that hard:

“As long as you call a lobbyist your personal friend, it is apparently OK,” says Sloan, who believes the ethics enforcement process is crippled because only members of Congress can file complaints against their colleagues. “I don’t see a member filing a complaint against another member for flying on someone’s plane, saying they are not really friends.”

Somebody needs to compile and publicize a database of these trips.

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