Government Ethics
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Rep. John Lewis and his fellow Democrats unveiled HR 1 on Jan. 4, 2019. It has since been passed by the House on the party-line vote but isn't going anywhere in the Senate.

With the For the People Act, organizing is paying off

Weissman is president of Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization.

One good thing came from the Supreme Court's horrendous Citizens United decision a decade ago: an ever-expanding grassroots movement to rescue our democracy from the iron grip of Big Money.

The organizing is paying off.

In 2014, it led to a Senate vote for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. It almost certainly would have led to that horrid decision being overturned by the Supreme Court – if Merrick Garland had been confirmed as a justice.

Now, thanks to that movement, the Democratic leadership of the House of Representatives made the For the People Act – the top priority legislation considered by the House – a sweeping pro-democracy and anti-corruption package. The House passed the bill, known as HR 1, in March by a vote of 234-193. It is the most consequential pro-democracy legislation of the past 50 years.

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Congress must fine more leaders among its staff, writes former Rep. Martin Frost, citing Rep. Marc Veasey (above). Veasey once worked in Frost's office and now represents that district.

Without bipartisanship, we can only fight

Frost is president of the Association of Former Members of Congress. A Democrat, he represented Texas in the House of Representatives from 1979 to 2005.

Last month, I was honored to testify before the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.

I represented the 24th District of Texas for 13 terms in the House, and for 26 years I was a member of the Rules Committee. I also served on the Budget and House Administration committees. I was Democratic Caucus chairman for four years and chaired the Caucus Rules Committee for 10.

Congress has been on my mind for much of my adult life.

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Open Government
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Democrats, experts call on Supreme Court to let sunshine in

Supreme Court justices should be covered by a written code of conduct and should publicly disclose their own finances and those instances when they recuse themselves from cases.

That was the general view of several expert witnesses at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing Friday.

"Our courts must be fair and impartial," said Democrat Hank Johnson of Georgia, who chaired the meeting of the panel that oversees the federal court system. "But also, our courts must appear to be fair and impartial."

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"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a fellow Republican, will not allow passage of any legislation that promotes transparency, election security, better government or the constitutional Article 1 obligation for congressional oversight of the executive branch," writes former Rep. Claudine Schneider, a Republican.

This is not the GOP that made America great

Schneider represented Rhode Island in the House of Representatives from 1981 to 1991 as a Republican.

In the 2016 election, Republicans took control of the White House, the United States Senate and the House of Representatives – effectively controlling all the levers of legislative power.

Do you remember the very first bill that the new Republican House introduced?

It was a bill to gut the House Ethics Committee – the "watchdog" committee responsible for investigating wrongdoing by members of Congress, such as harassment, campaign finance abuse and other violations of the public trust.

As a Republican former member of Congress, this was an alarming "ah ha" moment for me. I knew nothing good could come of that gambit and that it would portend similar Republican power grabs to come.

The new Republican congressional majority also made me realize I would have to pay even closer attention to the maneuverings of my own party!

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