Creating an Independent Ethics Commission

Common Cause invites you to join us for a unique and informative panel discussion Monday at the National Press Club in Washington, DC entitled “Restoring Ethics in Washington: How Congress Can Create an Independent Ethics Commission.”

Jack Abramoff is at the heart of the biggest congressional scandal to hit Washington in decades. Yet in the 18 months since allegations began surfacing about Abramoff and his activities with members of Congress, the House and Senate ethics committees have been silent. Were it not for the efforts of federal prosecutors and investigative journalists, we may never have known about efforts by Abramoff and his associates to buy legislative favors in exchange for campaign contributions and gifts.

And even before the Abramoff scandal broke, it was more than clear by the inactivity of the House and Senate ethics committees that there was little enforcement of ethics rules in Congress.

We believe an independent ethics commission is a solution to cleaning up Washington. Some states already have truly independent ethics commissions with jurisdiction over their state legislatures. This panel of legislative ethics experts at the federal and state levels will explore the idea of an independent ethics commission for Congress and help shape a proposal.

Where: The Holeman Room of the National Press Club

14th Floor, 529 14th Street NW

When: January 23 at 9:30 am


Norman Ornstein, resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute

Stanley Brand, founding partner, Brand Law Group, former General Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives

Dennis Thompson, Alfred North Whitehead Professor of Political Philosophy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government; founding director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics

John Schaaf, Legal Counsel, Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission

Bonnie J. Williams, executive director, State of Florida Commission on Ethics

The Hon. Anthony M. Wilhoit, executive director, Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission

Chellie Pingree, president, Common Cause