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Rep. John Lewis Applauds Honest Leadership, Open Government Reform Package to Protect Public Trust

January 18, 2006
Press Release

January 18, 2006 - Washington, D.C. - Rep. John Lewis applauded the unveiling of the "Honest Leadership, Open Government" Act, an aggressive reform package developed to reverse the excesses of a Republican-dominated U.S. Congress and help restore public confidence in the integrity of the federal government.

"There is a crisis in Washington," said Congressman Lewis, "and millions of Americans are paying the price. Most tragically, the poor, the elderly, the sick, the disabled, the most vulnerable Americans are being sacrificed to serve the interests of the rich. Every American is suffering from the neglect of a unilateral federal legislature and executive branch dominated by one single political party. We must find our way to greater integrity and greater balance in Washington and ensure that a variety of opinions are heard as legislation is developed. We must clean-up the culture of corruption that has crippled the democratic process and is eroding the confidence of the American people. Together we can do better. We can find a way to inject a new sense of ethics, discipline, morality and commitment into the chambers of Congress. That is why today Democrats are offering a reform agenda that we believe will help clean house in Washington."

The "Honest Leadership, Open Government" Act was unveiled at the Library of Congress today, where Members were joined by an audience of groups seeking to shift national legislative priorities toward the bedrock of hard-working Americans and their families, not just a privileged few. The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act will focus reforms on four key areas.

  • It will strengthen the ban on lobbying after Members of Congress and senior government officials leave politics to work in the private sector, and when law-makers are negotiating private-sector jobs, it will require their full disclosure to expose potential conflicts of interest.
  • It will fix the gift and travel rules that allow political operatives like Jack Abramoff to buy legislative influence in Congress, ensuring that laws will never again be written by industry lobbyists.
  • It will put an end to the K Street project which limited political access to Republican leadership to only those corporations and lobbying firms who hired Republicans and contributed heavily to Republican campaigns.
  • It will increase bi-partisan accountability in government and allow constituents to more clearly perceive what their elected representatives are doing in Washington.