“Our Pledge to You, the Constituent…”


Here’s an idea that occurred to me after reading John Stanton’s piece today in Roll Call that notes the disclosure requirements for members of Congress who might personally profit from earmarks–part of the reforms adopted by the House and the Senate–don’t apply to congressional aides. There’s a passage in the article about a few members who have instituted internal ethics rules to deal with relatives of aides who lobby. Are these written rules? Are there other written rules that members have for their offices? And if so, will members make these public?

This is the relevant passage:

With no uniform rules governing the connection between lobbyists and aides, some lawmakers have instituted their own rules. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), for instance, have strict rules prohibiting relatives of aides from lobbying their offices.

Likewise, a spokesman for Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) whose wife, Catherine, is a lobbyist said Sen. Stevens has a long-standing policy that staff members’ spouses or his spouse is not to lobby them on any issue.”

A Reid spokesman also said the Majority Leader has banned lobbying of his office by the spouses of aides.

Following the investigation of his office, Specter put in place new rules governing his staff, including a ban on family members of aides lobbying Specter or his staff, barring aides from dealing with firms that employ their family members and full disclosure of any such relationships throughout the earmark consideration process.

I’m going to start by calling these members’ offices, and see what I can find out…

Update: I left a message at Durbin’s office and emailed McConnell’s, and am now running late for a meeting. More later…

2d Update: I was out of the office all afternoon, so I have no idea if Durbin’s office called back (after a full year and a month at Sunlight, I still haven’t figured out how to remotely access my voicemail). Robert Steurer from McConnell’s office emailed to tell me they don’t normally release their office handbook, but he’d see what he could do. Here’s hoping he comes through.