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House leader promises ethics reform

[JURIST] Speaker of the US House of Representatives Dennis Hastert (R-IL) [official website] outlined a plan Sunday to implement more stringent restrictions on the "perks" members of Congress may accept from private parties. Reconsideration of the restrictions was sparked by the recent Congressional ethics scandal involving former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff [JURIST news archive], and Texas Congressman Tom Delay [JURIST news archive]. Abramoff and Delay have been at the center of a campaign finance scandal that has resulted in Abramoff pleading guilty [JURIST report] to fraud, conspiracy, tax evasion and mail fraud charges and Delay relinquishing his post as House Majority Leader [JURIST report]. A former aide to Hastert told reporters that the legislation will likely tighten existing ethics rules [House backgrounder] imposed by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 [PDF], and greatly limit, if not eliminate free travel, meal and entertainment members of Congress receive. The Chicago Tribune has more.

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