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Hastert: Private Travel Reform Talking Points


WASHINGTON, July 27 -- House Speaker Dennis Hastert has sent a letter to House Ethics Chairman Doc Hastings and Ranking Member Alan Mollohan to encourage that they establish an approval system for privately funded travel as soon as possible. Below are private travel reform talking points:

-- Since the beginning of the 109th Congress, many House members have come under media scrutiny due to issues with filing their private travel disclosure forms.

-- Out of an abundance of caution, numerous House Members have had to re-file their private travel disclosure forms with the Clerk of the House to comply with House Ethics Rules.

-- During hearings before the Committee on House Administration, the chairman and ranking member of the House Ethics Committee requested additional staff and funding to give specific and comprehensive ethics guidance and approval.

-- In response, the Committee on House Administration immediately approved the funding request.

-- In the 108th Congress, the Ethics Committee received $3,071,250. This was increased to $4,290,536 in the 109th Congress -- an increase of 39.7 percent above last Congress. This was by far the largest budget increase provided to any committee. The second highest increase was the Intelligence Committee at 22 percent - the average increase was only 10 percent.

-- On behalf of the House, Speaker Hastert has suggested that House Ethics Committee Chairman Doc Hastings and Ranking Member Alan Mollohan use those resources to create a new system for approving privately-funded travel.

-- Private Travel Reform would give specific and comprehensive approval to members and staff by the House Ethics Committee as they strive to comply with the Rules of the House.


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