Sunday, August 12, 2007

Inhofe, Coburn Oppose Toughest,

Most Sweeping Ethics Reform in a Generation

Oklahomans Deserve Better from their Elected Officials

OKLAHOMA CITY: Oklahoma’s two Republican U.S. Senators joined a tiny fringe minority in opposing a sweeping Congressional ethics reform bill recently, proving once again they are among the most obstructionist Senators in Congress, Oklahoma State Democratic Party Chairman Dr. Ivan Holmes said today.

“Experts call this the strongest ethics reform in Congressional history for tightening lobbying rules, imposing regulations on earmarks, banning gifts to Members of Congress and slowing the revolving door to lobbying,” Holmes said. “Of the 535 members of both Houses, Senators Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn were among only 22 to oppose it. It doesn’t matter what their excuses are. The bottom line is they now stand on the side of corruption and cronyism.”

Forty-two percent of voters listed corruption in Washington as the most important factor in determining who they voted for in the last election after shocking revelations, such as the Abramoff scandal, criminal indictments, resignations, and the K Street project that rocked the American people’s faith in government.

Holmes went on to question Inhofe’s “twisted logic” which blamed Democrats for his no vote.

“Jim Inhofe is one of the most partisan Members of Congress,” Holmes said. “Even though these broad ethics reforms had significant bipartisan support, he refused to support them and found a way to blame Democrats in the process.”

Holmes noted that Republican Senators like Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas; Charles Grassley of Iowa; Jeff Sessions of Alabama; and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia all voted for the bill. Even Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky voted yes, he said.

The bill that passed the Senate, 83-14, and the House of Representatives, 411-8, will tighten restrictions on gifts, lobbying and travel for Members of Congress and their staffs. It also imposes new regulations on earmarking funds in legislation and extends the amount of time a Senator has to wait before becoming a lobbyist after leaving office from one to two years. The bill has been sent to the President for his signature.

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