In Broad Daylight: Waiting for the 111th Congress


Despite a string of revelations revealing innappropriate home loans, rent prices, and rental arrangements maintained by lawmakers, Congress refuses to make appropriate disclosure changes to ensure proper public knowledge about all conflicts of interest. A few weeks back I wrote about potential rules changes proposed by the members of the Senate Ethics Committee requiring the disclosure of all home loans, even against personal residences, closing the personal residence loophole. That reform, offered in the form of an amendment to a housing bill, was ruled non-germane and was not adopted. It looks as though we will have to wait until next year to see if Congress remains serious about reform:

Despite a spate of revelations in recent weeks that House and Senate lawmakers received special deals on mortgages and rental agreements, it appears unlikely Members will be required to divulge the financial details of their homes anytime soon, with little momentum in either chamber to revisit ethics rules before next year.

“Any suggestions to change the rules will be addressed in the 111th Congress,” said Nadeam Elshami, Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) spokesman.

In other news, staffers are taking on more work raising money for their bosses by acting as the chief attraction at fundraisers, particularly those hosted by lobbyists.