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Proposed Rules for Ethics in Congress

The following is a set of rules of ethics which I propose for the U.S. Congress.  They would also serve well with state legislatures. 

1)  The key to good government is to end the sellout to special interests. We must have campaign finance reform to eliminate the bribery of special interests in the form of campaign contributions.  Congressional campaign expenditures should be limited to $100,000.  Senate campaigns should be limited to $100,000 per House district in the state.  (My opponent spent over $2 Million in 2006.  I spent $14,000.)   A campaign should consist of an inexpensive web site (similar to ConnerForUS.com ), campaign cards, yard signs, radio ads, candidate appearances at public gatherings, etc.  There would be no paid TV ads.  TV ads by other groups should not be allowed to mention either a candidate or the race.   Network TV stations should support a candidate debate (empty chair if a candidate refuses to appear) and offer free time for candidates to state their positions and advertise their web sites.   

2) Congressmen should be prohibited from accepting anything of any value from lobbyists.

3) Congressmen should be prohibited from accepting any stipend beyond reasonable expenses for speaking at any meeting.

4) Meetings between lobbyists and Congressmen (and/or staff) should take place only in Congressional offices.  Those meetings should be audio/video recorded and those video files archived in a central repository.  A listing of those meetings should be placed on the Internet with summary descriptions.  The video files of the meetings should be conveniently available to the public at large.

5) Members of Congress and staff should not be allowed to register as lobbyists for 10 years after leaving office.  Former Congressmen who are lobbyists should lose all special privileges of access to Congressional facilities.  Congressional staff should be similarly restricted.

(6) We must end the secretive insertion of  earmarks and other special interest provisions by Congressional staff members.  Congressmen cast their vote unaware of such provisions.  To solve this problem, all bills before Congress should be under document configuration control from first draft on.  Standard document configuration management software (currently available) should maintain all versions of the bill and document all changes.  Change documentation should include the specific changes in language, a statement of the intent of the change, date, time, person making the change.  More ....

(7) Place all pending legislation on the Internet along with the document configuration management information. This would invite any interested citizen or group to review the legislation and send their comments to Congressmen and/or the press.

(8) There should be a delay of a day after a bill is in final form before a vote.  This is to allow Congressmen to read the final version, aided by the change documentation, before voting.

(9) Bills/laws should be written in simple and concise language.  Congress should employ a central pool of technical writers who would rewrite all bills submitted to produce the most simple and straight forward language meeting the intent of the bill.  They should produce an executive summary of the bill.  This pool should be managed by an independent (or at least bipartisan) group and maintain honest broker standards.  More ...

10) Term limits should be set for the House of Representatives (three 2 year terms in any 12 years), the Senate (two 6 year terms in any 20 years), and the Supreme Court (15 years).  More...