Monday, September 12, 2005

Accountability for America

Kevin Drum has more good stuff, this time an entire Accountability Contract with America for the Democrats. As Drum explains, it's a contract "solely about promises to restore accountability to politics." And, unlike Nancy Pelosi's already-forgotten pseudo contract, Drum's bullet points are short and very sweet. I like I so much I am posting it in its entirety:

Freedom of Information Act. Repudiate John Ashcroft's 2001 memo (and the White House followups) that encourage agencies to refuse FOIA requests even when no harm would result from disclosure.

Congressional Ethics. Revitalize ethics investigations by guaranteeing bipartisan ethics committees in which both parties have the right to subpoena records.

Independent Commissions. Ensure proper oversight of government operations by appointing independent commissions to investigate disasters like Hurricane Katrina, not handpicked committees designed to provide political cover.

Presidential Papers. Immediately reverse George Bush's 2001 executive order blocking access to a huge swath of presidential papers from previous administrations.

Task Forces. Open up the operation and deliberations of federal task forces to the public. No more repeats of the secretive Energy Task Force run by Dick Cheney.

Classification. Reverse President Bush's 2003 executive order that substantially increased the ability of federal agencies to classify information that had previously been open to the public.

The Press. Provide a personal promise from every Democrat that they will not lie to reporters under cover of anonymity. If they do, reporters are free to break their promises of confidentiality.

Legislative Text. Revive the old rule that the text of new legislation must be available for a minimum of three days before roll call votes are taken.

Voting. Schedule all congressional votes for normal business hours and restrict voting to the normal 15-minute period. Laws should not be passed in the dead of night and voting should not be kept open indefinitely.

His contract is clear, aggressive, and it would send a resonant message to the American public - The Dems are the party of government reform and accountability, the Republicans are the party of corruption and misinformation.

Drum says he'll "let someone else worry about the wordsmithing." Don't! If the Dem leadership gets its hands on it, they'll make it so long and wordy as to be incomprehensible! Just kidding, the Dem leadership would never do anything that made this much political sense.


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