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Senate Ethics Reform Letter

Senate Ethics Reform Letter

Page 1: Senate Ethics Reform Letter

Category:Obtained Document

Number of Pages:2

Date Created:October 14, 2014

Date Uploaded to the Library:October 16, 2014

Tags:reform, Ethics, senate, letter


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October 15, 2014 
The Honorable Harry Reid The Honorable Mitch McConnell Senate Majority Leader Senate Minority Leader 
U.S. Senate U.S. Senate Washington, 20510 Washington, 20510 
Dear Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell: 
The current Senate ethics process widely  and accurately  perceived asinsular and opaque, failing adequately identify ethical lapses and ensure publicconfidence the institution. We, the undersigned groups, urge you, bipartisanagreement, publicly endorse the following constructive changes improve processthat often described black hole: 
 Create Office Senate Ethics 
The ethics process the U.S. House Representatives was significantlyimproved with the creation the Office Congressional Ethics (OCE). The Office has provided place for allegations ethical violations crediblyheard and investigated, and has alleviated some the most serious concernsabout process that had become utterly dysfunctional. equivalent Office ofSenate Ethics (OSE), with appropriate subpoena power, would enhance thepublic credibility the current process. 
 Create timetables for public reports the status investigations.
While appreciate that ongoing investigations are sensitive and necessitatediscretion, the Senate Select Committee Ethics has taken these understandable considerations the extreme. Information goes in, but information generally and routinely available until final disposition reached, leaving the public the dark. The process should have established timetables help manage public expectations, able waived only under extraordinarycircumstances, such when investigation put hold pursuant reviewby the Department Justice. 
 Increase transparency and access the Senate Ethics Committee 
Because the Ethics Committee continues almost all its work behind closed doors, reasonable suspicions arise that the Committee more interested protecting individual Senators and staff than the integrity the institution. Oneimportant step that can taken increase the Committees credibility toincrease and improve the public availability documents pertaining Senate ethics, such all current and historic guidance issued the Committee. addition, ethics documents already required disclosed the public shouldbe made available online, such legal defense fund disclosures and statementsof recusal. 
 More frequent ethics training for Senators and Senate personnel
Each Senator and Senate staffer should undergo ethics training session everyfour years. This would serve refresher/update well reminder ethicsrules. 
 Review current travel rules 
The Committee should review current travel rules, especially those governingpass-through transactions, ensure the rules accurately reveal the purpose andnature privately financed Senate travel. look forward hearing your response these proposals. 
Sincerely, 
Campaign Legal Center Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics Washington (CREW) Common Cause Democracy 21Judicial Watch League Women VotersThomas Mann Norman Ornstein Project Government Oversight (POGO)Public Citizen Sunlight FoundationTaxpayers for Common SenseJames Thurber