Testimony of Gary Ruskin,
Director of the Congressional Accountability Project,
Before the House Ethics Reform Task Force,
June 20, 1997

Thank you for allowing me to testify again before this Task Force.

During the 104th Congress, the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct ("Ethics Committee") maintained a policy of liberal permissiveness toward House Members. It too often acted as a shield for Members to hide behind, instead of diligently enforcing House Rules. We testified(1) in March that the Ethics Committee's worst problems were:

1. Testimony of Gary Ruskin, Director of the Congressional Accountability Project, before the House Ethics Reform Task Force, March 4, 1997. See Attachment #1.

2. Damon Chappie, "Ethics Task Force Hires Lawyer Tied to Shuster Case." Roll Call, March 6, 1997. Attachment #2 also includes "Counsel Conflict." Roll Call, March 10, 1997.

3. See, for example, R. H. Melton, "Ethics Panel Deadlocked on Gingrich Complaints." The Washington Post, May 20, 1995. Michael Ross, "Ethics Committee Deadlocked Over Gingrich Issues." Los Angeles Times, May 26, 1995.

4. Rules of Procedure, United States Senate Select Committee on Ethics, Rule 3(a).

5. Testimony of Gary Ruskin, Director of the Congressional Accountability Project, before the House Ethics Reform Task Force, March 4, 1997, pp. 5-11, 13.