WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- The U.S. Congress, faced with disclosures of corrupt practices, is coming under increasing pressure to tighten its ethical standards.
Recent disclosures include criminal investigations in Texas, California and Florida, which have sunk public confidence in the institution to its lowest point in more than a decade, the Christian Science Monitor reports.
That has prompted Congress to act as the House ethics committee resumes work in the New Year. Among bills proposed is a ban on lobbyist-sponsored travel. Another would ban lobbying on the floor of the House by former members, the report said.
Another measure would make it an ethical offense to use earmarks or items in spending bills that designate funds for a purpose, usually specific to a member's district to buy votes.
Reformers outside Congress say neither party has been willing to clean house.
"The House has completely abdicated its constitutional responsibility to police itself," says Melanie Sloan with the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, which has prepared ethics complaints against 13 lawmakers. "There is still no member of Congress, in either party, willing to file an ethics complaint."