Target: House Committee on Ethics Chairman K. Michael Conaway
Goal: Thank the chairman for once again disclosing gifts of all-expenses-paid trips to members of Congress
A victory for transparency was won recently as the United States House Committee on Ethics reversed their earlier decision regarding all-expenses-paid trips. While members of Congress had previously been required to report the financial details of these trips, including who had paid for them, the committee removed that requirement. However, the rule has now been reinstated and all-expenses-paid trips are once more detailed on annual forms. A previous petition on ForceChange had urged Chairman K. Michael Conaway to ensure that the disclosure requirements were restored.
All-expenses-paid trips are usually financed by interest groups hoping to get a member of Congress on their side of an issue. These trips are perfectly legal, but ever since the 1970s they have had to be included on financial disclosure forms, according to the National Journal. The potential for corruption is ever-present, and by keeping the public informed as to who has paid for what it becomes easier to determine which organizations a congressperson might feel beholden to. The removal of the requirement to disclose these trips sparked fears that moneyed interests could gift members of Congress large amounts of money, expect large amounts of favors and have nobody be any the wiser. Happily, this is not the case today.
Though it took public outcry, the House Committee on Ethics has done the right thing and is deserving of thanks. Chairman Conaway, as the most powerful member of the committee, was instrumental to the success of this effort. By signing this petition, you will applaud the Chairman for his work to restore transparency.
Dear Chairman Conaway,
The House Committee on Ethics recently restored the requirement that all-expenses-paid trips be disclosed by members of Congress on their annual reporting forms. This act is a victory for transparency in politics and does much to restore faith in Congress. All people deserve to see who is giving gifts to their representatives in Congress, and your committee has once again made this possible.
As Chairman of the Committee on Ethics, your support of this change was instrumental to its success. Thank you for working towards full disclosure and for striving against the possibility of corruption.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Bill Koplitz via Wikimedia Commons