Reform Takes Different Forms in Panel Hearings:


Senators clashed over some reform proposals at yesterday’s Senate ethics reform hearings, according to the New York Times. The most contentious issue was a proposal by Sen. Barak Obama (D-IL) to create an independent office to investigate ethics violations and criminal corruption in Congress. Obama acknowledged that it would be a difficult to create such an office as he ran up against criticism from Republican Senators, including Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN). Sen. Russ Feingold’s attack on privately-funded travel caused reactions as Senator Coleman defended the practice and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) wrestled with the issue. Sen. Feingold also stated that, “we are hearing the sound of furious backpedaling in the corridors of power.” The issue of earmark reform, talked about at length by Sen. McCain, will certainly go forward as it saw bipartisan support. Earmark reform may face a greater test in the House where Rep. Don Young, notorious for his earmarked “Bridge to Nowhere,” offered to let lawmakers who support earmark reform to pull out their earmarks from last year’s appropriations bills. Only one lawmaker, Charlie Bass (R-NH), took him up on the offer.