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BOB MOON: Former congressman Bob Ney is due in court today. The Ohio Republican could face more than two years in prison for his role in a Congressional bribery scandal. He admits to accepting trips, gifts, meals and campaign donations in return for political action. His attorneys argue he should get less time. Partly in response to cases like Ney’s, the Senate last night passed far-reaching ethics and lobbying legislation. Nancy Marshall Genzer has some details.
NANCY MARSHALL GENZER: The senate legislation will eliminate some of lawmakers’ favorite perks: It bars senators from accepting gifts, travel and lodging paid for by lobbyists.
Senators hitching rides on corporate jets will have to pay full charter rates — not the much cheaper equivalent of a first-class ticket.
Meredith McGehee of the Campaign Legal Center says the new Senate rules will change things.
MEREDITH MCGEHEE: These go to the heart of the day-to-day lifestyle of Washington. Who they eat with, how they travel, the kinds of gifts they can receive, and so they are important in terms of trying to make sure there’s a more transparent lifestyle here in Washington.
The House has passed similar rules for its members.
But McGehee says neither chamber has done much about enforcing the rules. They both rejected proposals to create an Office of Public Integrity.
They prefer to police themselves. McGehee says that doesn’t work.
In Washington, I’m Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.
MOON: By the way, that legislation would deny pensions to lawmakers convicted of serious crimes. As it stands now, the National Taxpayers Union says scores of convicted lawmakers still due pension amounting to tens of thousands of dollars.