Republicans Propose New Ethics Rules
They promise to be good this time--really, they mean it
18 January 2006 20:44 GMT
WASHINGTON, DC -- Congressional Republicans today proposed a series of tough new ethics rules to clean up a city still reeling from a massive influence-peddling scandal.
"From now on, no more free lunches," intoned House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), accompanied by his imaginary spokesperson, Winkie.
Under the GOP's proposed rules, members of Congress could accept no more than $20 in free meals from lobbyists. However, legislative aides would still be allowed to consume a more expensive meal, then regurgitate it into the member's mouth.
Lobbyists would be prohibited from paying for Congressional travel, though piggyback rides and foot massages would still be acceptable under the new proposal.
Congress would also have to comply with stiffer disclosure rules. For example, members would be required to disclose the serial number of every dollar bill slipped into a stripper's G string, regardless of the stripper's breast size.
Former members would be prohibited from becoming lobbyists for a period of two years after their term has ended, and their salaries would be capped at $2.2 million dollars for every year served in the House or Senate. Those who were forced to sit near Dick Cheney would be eligible for an additional $200,000 a year.
Strangely, the new rules did not address the millions of dollars funneled annually to Congressional campaigns through lobbyists and their intermediaries, or corporate lobbyists' unfettered ability to dictate legislation favorable to their clients.
"Some things are not so easy to fix," concedes Winkie. "Rome wasn't corrupted in a day."