Senator Sanders Gives First Senate Floor Speech on Ethics Legislation

Washington D.C.Senator Bernie Sanders today gave his first statement on the floor of the Senate as part of the debate on the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007 (S.1). In the speech Sanders discussed the importance of reining in the influence and power that lobbyists and their large corporate clients have over Congress and offered an amendment to address this problem. A full copy of Senator Sanders' first statement is attached. Sanders said, "Time and time again, the Congress has chosen to ignore the views of the American people and instead act in the interest of the wealthy special interests. This has included a Medicare Part D prescription drug program that did nothing to lower prices for consumers, energy bills that include huge tax giveaways to Big Oil and other interests, and the failure to pass legislation that would allow for the reimportation of safe, affordable prescription drugs from well-regulated countries like Canada. It is long past time for this Congress to ensure that they are looking out for the needs or working Americans, and not corporate lobbyists. What this report will do is begin to shed some light on the extent that contributions by corporate interests influence legislation before Congress." Specifically, Sanders' amendment would require a congressional commission to produce a report following the passage of the ethics legislation which would detail the number of political contributions given by certain industry associations to members of the House and Senate. The report would be produced by the Commission to Strengthen Confidence in Congress, a commission created with the passage of S.1. Sanders said, "The challenge we face is to rein in the influence and power that lobbyists and their large corporate clients have over the Congress. The lobbying reform legislation that we are considering is a very important step. But we must keep in mind while we are eliminating the $20 lunches and the club level tickets to local sporting events, we are doing nothing about the $10,000 campaign contributions that come from corporate PACs. This amendment will provide this body with some of the information it will need when the Senate examines the important issues of campaign finance reform."To read Sanders' statement click here.