Mark Tapscott notes my post on ethics and proposes some more ideas that would involve real pain for legislators and their staff:

First, apply the Freedom of Information Act to Congress. Most Americans resent that Congress passes laws it expects the rest of us to abide by but exempts itself. Ending the 42-year-old congressional FOIA exemption would be a major step in the right direction and one that would call the Democrats bluff on the transparency issue.

Second, require Members and their key personal and committee staff members (chiefs of staff, legislative directors, committee staff directors, legal counsels, possibly others) to maintain online daily calendars recording names and titles of all participants in meetings concerning any proposed legislation or expenditure of federal funds.

Third, abolish the absurd categorical values in the annual financial disclosures required of Members. Show us the money, the shares, the property, the consideration, Congressman. Require the same level of disclosure for key staff members included in the second suggestion.

I have also heard the idea of limiting lobbying by spouses or family of members, an issue that is coming up in Barack Obama’s transition.

Categories: Syndicated