The prohibition on House members serving as directors of outside groups should include nonprofit and private company boards, not only publicly traded enterprises, three prominent watchdog groups say.
The House has barred its members from such corporate boards only since January. The new Democratic majority changed the rules largely in response to the case of Republican Rep. Chris Collins of New York, charged a year ago with fraud, conspiracy and lying to the FBI in an alleged insider stock trading scheme involving Innate Immunotherapeutics, a biotech company where he was a board member. (Collins was re-elected last fall and is set to go on trial in February.)
The rules change resolution also set up a pair of House members to help the Ethics Committee recommend by the end of the year whether members and their aides should also be restricted from holding other outside positions.
Annual reports in which members of Congress, senior administration officials, federal judges and candidates for federal office disclose their assets, liabilities and non-government income in broad ranges of value, starting with less than $1,000 and maxing out at more than $50 million. They must also disclose board memberships.
Advocates of good government generally agree that when the three branches are in relative balance, American democracy has a better chance to thrive. President Trump is aggressively challenging that notion, and this week he's opened several new fronts in his campaign to bolster executive power at the expense of Congress: