Tom Harkin - U.S. Seante

Home >> News



WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that he will co-sponsor the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, legislation offering an aggressive reform package to reverse Republican excesses and restore the public’s trust in government. Harkin, a longtime proponent of public financing, also called for real changes in campaign finance to truly end the abuses in Washington.

“From the White House to Congress to K-Street, Republicans’ organized corruption in Washington has come at a great cost to the American people,” said Harkin. “Rather than debating legislation written by and for special interests, I believe we must fight for reform, so we can clean up Washington and ensure that America’s interests always come first.”

The cost of Republican corruption is felt by American families every day as they try to heat their homes and send their children to college. While seniors struggle with a confusing and poorly implemented prescription drug program and middle-class families desperately try to pay higher bills with lower wages, special interests reap rewards and giveaways. Republicans have created laws that provide a multibillion dollar slush fund for the pharmaceutical industry and allow friends like Halliburton to receive no-bid contracts.

Some of the key provisions Democrats have proposed to end this abuse include:

— A ban on lobbyist gifts, including meals, entertainment and travel to ensure legislation is never traded for perks,

— Increasing restrictions on lobbyists so America knows what they are up to,

— Shutting down schemes like the “K Street Project,” so special interests will not rule Washington,

— Prohibiting “Dead of Night” special interest provisions by requiring conference committee meetings to be open to the public.

Harkin, who has long advocated for public financing in federal election campaigns, said that reform should not just end with this proposal and called for additional campaign finance reform.

“I have long believed real reform cannot happen until we provide public financing of campaigns and place limits on spending,” said Harkin. “While this bill is a good first step, we must do more than ban gifts from lobbyists in Washington. If we are really serious about reform, we should be talking about further campaign finance reform.”

Paid for and authorized by Citizens for Harkin