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Congress
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Fixing the House means more staff pay and member budget sway, panel concludes

Its nickname has been the Fix Congress Committee, an unusually bipartisan effort by House members to make their workplace a bit more functional. On Thursday it wrapped up work by endorsing 40 more ideas — including on such politically dicey topics as Capitol Hill's spending on itself and lawmakers steering federal spending toward home.

The panel has been something of a pet project for good-government groups inside the Beltway, who engineered its creation two years ago, pelted it with ideas and prodded it toward consensus.

For these democracy reform advocates, the formula for quelling Washington gridlock and poisoned partisanship includes boosting a legislative branch that's fallen way behind in balance-of-power struggles — and that won't happen until Capitol Hill is a place where politicians and their aides actually want to work for more than a few years and have realistic hope of getting something done.

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The story behind the indictment of Ohio Speaker Larry Householder is "just another normal tale about the sway cash has over politics in recent decades," writes Jeff Clements.

Bribery — or business as usual in our dysfunctional political system

Clements is the president of American Promise, which advocates for amending the Constitution to allow more federal and state regulation of money in politics. He was previously an assistant Massachusetts attorney general.

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Government Ethics
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A new report from Issue One Action shows how the wealthy special interests have spread their influence under the Trump administration.

The D.C. swamp has gotten swampier under Trump, report finds

Four years after Donald Trump campaigned on "draining the swamp," wealthy special interests wielding power in Washington have only become more pervasive.

Spotlight on the Swamp, a new project launched last week by the bipartisan advocacy group Issue One Action, details how lobbying activity and spending has increased during the Trump administration, the "pay to play" system has persisted and D.C.'s ethical standards have fallen. (Issue One Action is affiliated with Issue One, which is incubating — but has no editorial say in — The Fulcrum.)

With the November election 20 weeks away, and Americans grappling with the compounded crises of Covid-19 and racial injustice, efforts to make the system more equitable and representative for everyone have become even more crucial.

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