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Gifts and Ethics Rules: Side-by-Side Comparison of Provisions of S. 1 and H.Res. 6, 110th Congress

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Publication Date: February 2007

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RL33893

Topic: Politics (Political ethics)

Abstract:

The following chart presents, in summary fashion, a side-by-side comparison of the provisions in S. 1 and H.Res. 6, 110th Congress, which relate specifically to congressional ethics, including the receipt of gifts from lobbyists and their clients and the acceptance of payment or reimbursement of expenses from outside, private sources for "officially connected" travel expenses. Although the provisions of both S. 1 and H.Res. 6 deal with other matters, including changes to the internal procedures in the Senate and House, respectively, (and in S. 1, changes to the federal lobbying statute), this chart focuses only on comparing the amendments and proposed changes dealing with "ethics" provisions affecting Members, employees, and officers of either House of Congress. (For a summary of all of the provisions of S. 1, see CRS Report RL33852, Ethics, Lobbying, and Related Procedural Reforms Proposed in S. 1, 110th Congress.)

On January 4, 2007, the House of Representatives adopted H.Res. 6, 110th Congress, which amended the internal Rules of the House to apply greater restrictions, more transparency, and further regulation to the acceptance by Members and staff of "gifts" from private, outside sources, including the acceptance of travel expenses or reimbursements for "officially connected" travel by Members and staff. The Rules changes prohibiting the receipt of even de minimis gifts (less than $50 in value) from lobbyists, agents of foreign principals, and private entities employing such lobbyists or foreign agents are effective in the House immediately; the new restrictions, regulations and transparency provisions regarding "officially connected" travel expenses are to take effect on March 1, 2007.

On January 18, 2007, the Senate passed S. 1, 110th Congress, which proposes amendments and new regulations concerning congressional ethics, lobbying reform, and proposals to amend Senate procedures to increase legislative transparency. Because the proposed changes are incorporated in a bill, both the changes to the Senate Rules (affecting, generally, ethics and Senate procedures), as well as amendments to statutes (regarding lobbying, conflicts of interest, and pensions), would become effective only upon enactment of the proposals into law.

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