August 2nd, 2007
12:28 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama urges ethics reform, new oversight

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Illinois Sen. Barack Obama criticized the cozy relationship between lawmakers and lobbyists, and pledged his support for the ethics bill pending in the Senate on Thursday morning.

"It is time that we had a Congress that tells drug companies or oil companies or the insurance industry that while they may get a seat at the table in Washington, they don't get to buy every single chair," Obama said on the Senate floor.

The ethics bill, which passed overwhelmingly in the House on Tuesday, includes provisions for banning gifts paid for by lobbyists and forces members of Congress to disclose pet projects.

Obama said he will also continue to work to create an independent department responsible for policing ethical matters in Congress. "So long as we are our own prosecutors, judge, jury, the public will never have complete trust in our decisions," he said.

–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich

Related: Senators primed to require more disclosure of pet projects

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Mike, Staatsburg, NY

    Why not ban ALL corporate gifts and limit all personal gifts to $100? No more free plane rides, vacations, dinners, European golf trips – end it ALL.

    Work for your $170,000, you're golden parachute that every member of congress gets, and be happy with it. If it's not enough for you, there are plenty of Americans who would work for that pay.

    August 2, 2007 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  2. Independent Voter, TN

    Legislators talk about this on an ongoing basis, but they are never able to say no to these special interests. That goes for both parties.

    I'll believe it when I see it.

    August 2, 2007 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. DJ, Los Angeles CA

    Thank you Sen. Obama for stepping up and being a consistent voice of criticism over the lack of oversight and need to keep the corrupt influence peddlers in check.

    August 2, 2007 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. Fred Juniper NH

    Question: Does it seem like Obama is on a fishing expedition trying to reel in an issue he can put in his political frying pan?

    Answer: Yes, it does.

    August 2, 2007 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. IV

    Seeing someone take some leadership on ethics in Washington sure is a nice change!

    August 2, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  6. Melisa, Springfield, Illinois

    Good policy in the making. Go Obama...

    August 2, 2007 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  7. Providence, RI

    OBAMA is all over the place. He seems he needs lots of attention. He is making too much noises! His records as state Senator of Illinois speaks for itself. Look at it, and you will be SHOCKED! He voted for partial birth abortion, which is crushing the baby skull. Sad...and he is talking about ethics??????

    August 2, 2007 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  8. Glenn,B'ham,Al

    A glimmer of light for this Congress! He sees the problem & speaks clearly. That will scare lots of voters.

    August 2, 2007 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. Jeannie in Sacramento, CA

    I hope this legislation passes overwhelmingly. There is no reason why it shouldn't. As Justice Louis Brandeis proclaimed, "Sunshine is the best disinfectant."

    Barack Obama, in all his youthful enthusiasm and truthful splendor, may just be the change we need in Washington. THE AUDACITY OF HOPE !!!

    August 2, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  10. Rose Hillrose, Chicago, IL

    Obama’s speech is once again a “Johnny-come-lately". Same stuff gleaned from existing sources and on the records. This dude repeats what others have already stated and makes them appear as though they are his originals.

    August 2, 2007 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  11. La'Goro, Albany, NY

    I say Clinton/Biden all the way to the Whitehouse...!!

    August 2, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  12. John Thomas, Edina, MN

    The ONLY way to prevent any of this corruption is to listen to RON PAUL when he says: to limit the corruption, lobbying and gifts, we must reduce the size and POWER that government has. It is the ONLY way. Corruption will happen no matter what, unless we limit the power of government that it has over OUR LIVES.

    It makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Everyone else is just preaching to the choir.

    August 2, 2007 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  13. DJ, Los Angeles, CA

    Why are people critizing Obama for this?

    What the heck are other candidates proposing to do? Nothing???

    Quit being such whining cynics and appreciate what Obama is proposing.

    I agree with Mike that we should pressure Congress to take even tougher measures.

    This is just the minimum and notice the lack of support Obama gets?

    August 2, 2007 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. Mary, Col. Oh

    Here you go again...whatever Obama says you people critize. I will tell you this Clinton/Biden will not get into the White House without the Black vote. Black people are not good enough to become President but you say or do anything for the vote!!!

    August 2, 2007 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  15. Robert M. Reidy

    Mr. Obama goes to Washington!!! Yes, it
    is a new wind a blowing through the cherry trees surrounding the monuments
    on the Potomic, and the old corrupt
    politicians are getting uneasy. Barak Obama is a self made man beholding to none but the grass roots of this nation – WE THE PEOPLE. Barak Obama is interestted in doing the right thing by us. God speed Barak the man of courage!

    August 2, 2007 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  16. Erik

    Providence, RI Wrote: OBAMA is all over the place. He seems he needs lots of attention. He is making too much noises!

    Response: Do you want him to be a good black man and keep his mouth shut and don't expose all of the corrupt politicians? Fact when the country is changing isn't it funny that you always here especially when it comes to black people..."He seems he needs lots of attention. He is making too much noises!" Frederick Douglas went through it. Harriet Tubman went through it. Malcolm X went through it and certainly Martin Luther King Jr. went through it. Obama is no different I guess. Same old criticisms, same old racist crap, but change is coming for the good of all Americans and the world! Believe it. Obama 08

    August 2, 2007 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  17. Tyrone in DC

    Mary, Col OH

    Considering 90%+ of black people vote for democrats, if the nominee IS Clinton/Biden who are the black people going to vote for? A Republican?

    Hell naw – black people will just swallow hard and vote democrat. Lets get real.

    August 2, 2007 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  18. Rigso, Somerville, MA

    Please, stop praising Obama, he is just an in knee deep with lobbyists as the rest of them, have the supporters actually read ANYTHING about his connection with Rezko, the Chigaco slumlord.

    August 2, 2007 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  19. John Thomas, Edina, MN

    Gotta laugh at everyone thinking Barack is some sort of saint free from corruption! He's done political favors for money/property in the past and he has also accepted money from an INDICTED business man.

    Ignorance is bliss, eh? Maybe, but not for much longer when the USA goes down the tubes. Ron Paul is our only hope if you truly understand our coutry's problems.

    August 2, 2007 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  20. Kevin NH

    What CNN failed to mention is that Obama heads the democrats ethics reform issues. Give the man his props, he's influence is being felt by the washington insiders, democrats and republicans alike.,

    August 2, 2007 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  21. Mike, HI

    ...pledged his support for the ethics bill pending in the Senate on Thursday morning.

    Unless he authored the bill or co-sponsored it, I don't think he deserves all that much praise. It's pretty easy to support an ethics bill. The overwhelming votes for it in both chambers is proof that Obama is not some maverick supporting ethics reform; most Congressmen agree with the bill as well.

    August 2, 2007 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  22. Jamie, C, Oh.

    Hillary and the rest of the DEMS and Repubs are all over the place when it comes to saying what they think you want to hear. All candidates will say anything to get elected but will they follow through on their promises... the answer is NO!! Obama is going to be a great President for all the people not just a few, I believe he will unite this country not divide it, that's if enough people can get through the crap the media reports...

    August 2, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  23. Josh

    "OBAMA is all over the place. He seems he needs lots of attention. He is making too much noises! His records as state Senator of Illinois speaks for itself. Look at it, and you will be SHOCKED! He voted for partial birth abortion, which is crushing the baby skull. Sad…and he is talking about ethics??????"

    Grammar lesson anyone?

    First, Obama is all over the place? Maybe that's because the bills that come up in the Senate are all over the place. They aren't all about Iraq.

    Second, I always thought that ALL presidential candidates make "too much noises" – at least the serious contenders do. That is just what happens, whether they try or not.

    Third, speaking of Obama's "records" in the Illinois Senate, I believe he passed the first comprehensive ethics reform bill in Illinois in 25 years. So that seems pretty consistent with what you are calling "all over the place".

    August 2, 2007 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  24. Jim, OH

    CNN forgot to mention that the ethics bill was sponsored by Sen Feingold and Sen Obama and heraled as the strongest ethics and lobbying reform legislation to date. And now the Bill has passed. Obama is definately changing Washington.

    August 2, 2007 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  25. Don, NYC

    Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid tapped Obama to be the party's point man on congressional ethics reform in January and Obama has delivered in an overwhelming Bipartisan effort. He's not president yet and Washington is already feeling his influence.

    August 2, 2007 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
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