Congressional Ethics

Common Cause is a vocal advocate for high ethical standards in Washington. In the 1980s, we partnered with a young Republican congressman, Newt Gingrich, to spotlight the ethical abuses that led to the resignation of House Speaker Jim Wright. In the '90s, we sparked a House Ethics Committee investigation of that same Rep. Gingrich, by then Speaker of the House himself. And in the early 2000s, we were among the first organizations to call for the resignation of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay over repeated ethics violations.

Common Cause's lobbying in 2007 led the House to create the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), the first independent ethics watchdog in Congress; since then, we have faced down bi-partisan attempts to weaken or dismantle the OCE and are lobbying the Senate to create a similar ethics oversight panel. Our lobbying figured prominently in the passage of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, placing new disclosure requirements on lobbyists, and the STOCK Act, clarifying that Congress is bound by laws barring government officials from using "inside" information to enrich themselves.

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Then-Representative (and now Senator) Chris Murphy (D-Conn) penned an op-ed with this title in 2008 lamenting the vast amounts of time Members of Congress have to spend fundraising. If he thought things were bad then, he had no idea how awful the...

I Didn’t Get Elected to Be a Fundraiser
January 23, 2015

Democracy Wire

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