Huffpost Politics

House Ethics Committee To Reinstate Key Disclosure Rule For Lobbyist Gifts

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The U.S. Capitol (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In an abrupt retreat, the House Ethics Committee said Thursday that it was dropping changes it had made in how lawmakers publicly report trips they take that are financed by interest groups.

The bipartisan panel said House members will have to continue filing brief information about privately financed trips in the public reports they file annually on their personal finances.

Just Tuesday, news organizations reported that the ethics committee would no longer require that information on those forms. That drew howls from open government advocates and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., though Republicans noted that Democrats on the ethics panel had signed off on the change.

In a written statement, the committee said it was withdrawing the change "in light of feedback we have received from our fellow members and after further consideration." It said the decision reflected the committee's goal of enforcing House rules "in a manner that protects the integrity of the House."

Never altered was the requirement that lawmakers file even more detailed facts about each privately funded trip to the House clerk's office, which posts the information publicly on a searchable website. That must be filed within 15 days of each trip's completion and include information about costs.

Lawmakers' financial disclosure forms cover the previous year's travel and do not request information about price tags.

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