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US Democratic Lawmaker Calls for Integrity in Congress


A ranking Democrat of the U.S. House of Representatives Rules committee says years of Republican control of Congress have led to what may be the worst corruption in the history of the legislative body.

Democrat Louise Slaughter of New York said Saturday that a Republican lobbyist's guilty plea this week to corruption charges is an example of how the government has become, in her words, "an engine of patronage" rather than of responsible policy.

Ms. Slaughter said lobbyists are now helping to write bills passed by Congress. Citing the new Medicare plan as an example, she said it was written to benefit insurance companies rather than health care recipients. She also said lawmakers gave defense contracts in Iraq to friends rather than conduct a fair bidding process.

Ms. Slaughter said the Democratic party wants a government that upholds the highest standards of integrity - something she said should be the defining feature of democracy.