United States. Congress. House. Committee on Rules.

Congressional gift reform : hearings before the Committee on Rules, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session on H. Res. 250 ... November 2 and 7, 1995 online

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CONGRESSIONAL GIFT REFORM



Y4.R 86/1 :C 76/15



Congressional Gift Reforn^ 104-1 He...

±iii.AKlNGS

BEFORE THE

COMMITTEE ON RULES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED FOURTH CONGRESS

FIRST SESSION
ON

H. RES. 250

AMENDING THE RULES OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO
PROVIDE FOR GIFT REFORM



NOVEMBER 2 AND 7, 1995



Printed for the use of the Committee on Rules




U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1996



For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office

Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington. DC 20402

ISBN 0-16-052593-4



CONGRESSIONAL GIFT REFORM



Y4.R86/1:C 76/15



Congressional Gift Reforn, 104-1 He...

±iii.AKlNGS

BEFORE THE

COMMITTEE ON RULES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED FOURTH CONGRESS

FIRST SESSION
ON

H. RES. 250

AMENDING THE RULES OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO
PROVIDE FOR GIFT REFORM



NOVEMBER 2 AND 7, 1995



Printed for the use of the Committee on Rules




'^^'S 6 1996







J



22-934CC



U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1996



For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office

Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402

ISBN 0-16-052593-4



COMMITTEE ON RULES

GERALD B.H. SOLOMON, New York. Chairman
JAMES H. QUILLEN, Tennessee JOHN JOSEPH MOAKLEY, MaBsachuaetU

DAVID DREIER. California ANTHONY C. BEILENSON, California

PORTER GOSS. Florida MARTIN FROST. Texas

JOHN LINDER. Georgia TONY P. HALL. Ohio

DEBORAH PRYCE. Ohio
LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART. Florida
SCOTT McINNIS. Colorado
ENTD GREENE, UUh

Don Wolfensberger. Chief of Staff
George C. Crawford. Minority Staff Director



Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process

PORTER GOSS. Florida, Chairman
JAMES H. QUILLEN, Tennessee MARTIN FROST. Texas

JOHN LINDER, Georgia JOHN JOSEPH MOAKLEY. MassachuaetU

DEBORAH PRYCE. Ohio
GERALD B.H. SOLOMON. New York

Wendy SEUG, Counsel
KRlsn Walseth. Minority Staff Director



Subcommittee on Rules and Organization of the House

DAVID DREIER, California. Chairman
LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART, Florida ANTHONY C. BEILENSON. California

SCOTT McINNIS, Colorado TONY P. HALL. Ohio

ENID GREENE. UUh
GERALD B.H. SOLOMON, New York

Vincent RaNDAZZO, Counsel
Meussa Rice Kuckro. Minority Counsel

(II)



CONTENTS



P-ge

November 2, 1996

Opening statement of Hon. Gerald B.H. Solonion, chairman of the Committee

on Rules. 2

Opening statement of Hon. Martin Frost, a member of the Committee on

Rules. 3

Opening statement of Hon. Porter J. Goss, a member of the Committee

on Rules, submitted for the record. 3

Statement of:

Waldholtz, Hon. Enid G., a Representative in Congress from the State

of Utah 5

Barrett, Hon. Thomas M., a Representative in Congress from the State

of Wisconsin 7

Shays, Hon. Christopher, a Representative in Congress from the State

of Connecticut (prepared statement p. 9) 8

Burton, Hon. Dan, a Representative in Congress from the State of Indi-
ana 32

Brewster, Hon. Bill K., a Representative in Congress from the State

of Oklahoma 42

Miller, Hon. George, a Representative in Congress from the State of

California (prepared statement p. 47) 45

Bryant, Hon. John, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas 50
Fazio, Hon. Vic, a Representative in Congress from the State of California

(prepared statement p. 55) 52

De Lauro, Hon. Rosa, a Representative in Congress from the State of

Connecticut (prepared statement p. 59) 57

Klug, Hon. Scott L., a Representative in Congress from the State of

Wisconsin 60

Castle, Hon. Michael N., a Representative in Congress from the State

of Delaware (prepared statement p. 62) 61

Statement submitted for the record:

Hoekstra, Hon. Peter, a Representative in Congress from the State of

Michigan 4

Additional material submitted for the record:

Outline submitted by Representative Burton 40

November 7, 1995

Statement of:

Johnson, Hon. Nancy L, a Representative in Congress from the State

of Connecticut (prepared statement p. 67) 65

Mann, Thomas E., The Brookings Institution (prepared statement p.77) ... 76
Thurber, James A., Director, Center for Congressional and Presidential

Studies, The American University (prepared statement p. 80) 79

Mason, David M., Vice President, (iovemment Relations, The Heritage

Foundation (prepared statement p. 83) 82

Claybrook, Joan, President, Public Citizen (prepared statement p. 97) 94

McBride, Ann, President, Common Cause (prepared statement p. 102) 100



IV P.«e



Andrews, Wright, President, American League of Lobbyists (prepared

statement p. 119) • • :•••••• V"iV- -j"; 1

Brown, Richard, Chairman Emeritus, Leukemia Research l-^ind (prepared



125



statement p. 126)
Additional material submitted for the record tt xt

Letter submitted by Standards of Official Conduct Chairman, Hon. Nancy

L. Johnson, and Ranking Democratic Member Hon. Jim McDermott 70

Letter from E. Donald Ainge, The MGIS Companies 114



H. RES. 250, TO AMEND THE RULES OF THE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO PROVIDE
FOR GIFT REFORM



Thursday, November 2, 1995.

House of Representatives,

CoMMirrEE ON Rui£S,

Washington, DC.

The committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:09 a.m., in room H-
313, The Capitol, Hon. Gerald B.H. Solomon [chairman of the com-
mittee] presiding.

Present: Representatives Solomon, Dreier, Goss, Pryce, Mclnnis,
Waldholtz, Beilenson, Frost, and Hall.

The Chairman. This meeting of the Rules Committee will come
to order.

We are here today to consider amending the Rules of the House
of Representatives providing for gift reform.

Before we get started, I made a pun about the late Tony Beilen-
son, and Tony Beilenson has given me a hard time ever since I
came on this committee some 8 years ago.

Mr. Beilenson. Nothing you did not deserve, Mr. Chairman.

The Chairman. That, of course, is being facetious.

But Tony, we read an announcement in the paper that you are
not going to seek reelection. And you have been one of the most
valuable Members of this committee, and as far as I am concerned,
of the entire institution for so many years. I actually did have some
tears in my eyes when you told me about that.

Mr. Beilenson. That is kind of you, Mr. Chairman.

The Chairman. I feel very, very badly that you are not going to
be here, because you are a levelheaded force that tends to take peo-
ple that are emotional, like me, and say, wait a minute, let's look
at both sides. And that is invaluable in this Membership, and we
are really going to miss you, Tony.

Mr. Beilenson. I appreciate your kind words.

Mr. Chairman, it was a difficult choice for me, but I will be
around all next year to try to keep you in line as long as I possibly
can. I was hoping Roll Call, which usually is quite good about these
things, printed my entire statement. You folks don't know that I
S£ud that if you had to come up to be sort of closed into a small
room almost every day of the week with such people as Solomon,
Quillen, Dreier, Goss, et. al., you would give serious consideration
to leaving, too.

(1)



I purposely exempted the new Members because they seem like
a pretty good bunch. But I remember when the four of you were
over here, we had to put up with you year after year.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your kind words.

OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. GERALD B.H. SOLOMON,
CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE ON RULES

The Chairman. Thank you.

The bill before us today was originally referred to the Ethics
Committee, the committee of original jurisdiction. However, be-
cause of the agenda for the Ethics Committee being as crowded as
it is, in order to expedite the legislation and to deal with it before
we adjourn this year, the Republican leadership and Mr. Gingrich,
our Speaker, asked this committee if we would take original juris-
diction if they were to redirect it to us. And although we have had
an extremely busy agenda ourselves for this entire 10 months, we
wanted to do this because we do want to expedite it.

We do not have the expertise perhaps of the Committee on Offi-
cial Standards and Conduct, but nevertheless, we have worked
closely with them. We held a briefing last night with Members of
the Congressional Research Service and with tne Ethics Committee
staff to bring us up to date and our staff up to date, and that was,
I don't know about the rest of you, it was extremely helpful to me
to be able to understand this entire issue and to coordinate it with
what the Senate has done.

On this committee we do have Enid Waldholtz who is a freshman
Member of the Congress and a new Member of this Rules Commit-
tee, but she has been an activist and a leader in pursuing reforms
of the gift rules. She has introduced H. Res 250, which is identical
to the Senate bill.

We are going to receive testimony today on that bill. We do not
have jurisdiction over the lobbyist legislation or over campaign fi-
nancial reform, so we are going to hold this discussion to this par-
ticular issue. We are somewhat under the gun and to expedite the
legislation. As I said, yesterday we had a meeting with both sides
of the aisle and their staffs with the CRS and with the Ethics Com-
mittee.

Today, we are having the first hearing for Members of Congress
only. Next Tuesday, November 7th, we will have a Rules Commit-
tee hearing with outside witnesses from the public sector and pri-
vate sector and tentatively we plan to mark up this legislation, this
rule change, on — ^Thursday, November 9th, at 10 a.m. I hope that
we can get that done.

As the testimony will no doubt bring out, there have been many
technical questions that have arisen oased on the Senate-passed
legislation, and when we bring this to the House we would hope
to have it in final form. Under such rushed circumstances, I don't
know that we are going to have a perfect bill but we are going to
try to make it as perfect as we can. So that is the purpose of this
hearing.

Hopefully, we won't have to delay the markup next Thursday,
November 10th, because in doing that, we have problems with the
Thanksgiving recess coming along, and Congressman Armey, our



Majority leader, wanted us to deal with this prior to the November
16th recess period.

So having said that, I would first recognize Enid Waldholtz, a
member of this committee.

And, Enid, feel free to summarize, and your entire statement will
appear in the record without objection, as well as Mr. Barrett's and
Mr. Shays' statements as well.

Mr. Frost. Mr. Chairman.

The Chairman. I am sorry, Mr. Frost.

Mr. Frost. Could I make a brief opening statement?

The Chairman. You most certainly may.

OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. MARTIN FROST, A MEMBER OF
THE COMMITTEE ON RULES

Mr. Frost. And I am not at all trying to be critical of Mrs.
Waldholtz. There was some discussion on the Floor, I believe it was
yesterday, it may have been the day before. It is hard to keep track
of days around here. There was reference to the bipartisan task
force that was set up in 1989 to deal with this issue.

Enid, I don't remember, you were the one who made the remarks
or someone on your side made the remarks. I was a Member of that
bipartisan task force in 1989 that dealt with the gift issue and it
was equally divided between Democrats and Republicans. There
were — it was Chaired by Vic Fazio from California and the Vice
Chair was Lynn Martin, a Republican Member. And, in fact, Ms.
Martin presided from time to time because it was equally divided.

There were significant changes made in the law as a result of
that task force on a bipartisan basis. So there was progress made
at that point and there was some reference to that size of the ex-
ception that was made by that bipartisan task force. That was ac-
tually a significant advance forward in terms of what the law had
been. And I just want to — it is important in terms of historical per-
spective for Members who were not here who did not participate.

And I don't know, I don't recall, quite frankly, if any of the other
Members on your side of the aisle. Republican side, who are cur-
rently on the Rules Committee, were on that task force. I haven't
reviewed a list. But it did have key Members on the Republican
side and it was, in fact, evenly divided. And we did make some fair-
ly significant changes at that time in terms of what the Members
could do and could not do.

We did not go all the way to the point that is being discussed
today. Things don't happen in a vacuum and there was some good
work that was done by that task force. Obviously, what we are try-
ing to do is build on that work. But I would hope that Members
would review the record of that task force, which I think was posi-
tive in terms of how we got to where we are today.

The Chairman. Martin, thank you very much.

Were there other statements before we get into the testimony?

Mr. Goss. Mr. Chairman, I would like to submit mine for the
record in order to save time.

The Chairman. Without objection.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Goss follows:]



Prepared Statement of Hon. Porter J. CJoss, a member of the Committee on

Rules

Mr. Chairman: I am pleased that we have this opportunity to hear from Members
about a subject that impacts ufX)n every one of us and all of our staff.

Because of the unique nature of the jobs that we do and the types of situations
we encounter, writing gift restrictions for the House is not nearly as easy as it may
seem. Our Rules Committee members and our Ethics Committee members have
been grappling with the intricacies and the complexities of the proposal before us —
H. Res. 2^) — which is identical to what the Senate passed 98-0. On many occasions,
Members have been scratching their heads in puzzlement as we have tried to work
through the hypotheticals and understand what all this means.

My view is that this is not an earthshaking event - truthfully we have many more
important things to do. But, at the same token, there is a perception among Ameri-
cans that we should tighten these restrictions - and there are many Members who
believe that strengthenmg the rules and providing additional clarity is a worthwhile
endeavor. And so, here we are, fulfilling our commitment to move gift reform to the
floor by November 16.

In my office, we decided that we do not want to deal with the gray areas and the
endless questions about what may or may not be construed as a gift or a trip or
a meal we shouldn't accept. And so, neither I nor my staff accept anything along
those lines. If we do travel or eat or golf, we do so at our own expense. I understand
that this is significantly more stringent than may be necessary and I also under-
stand that this may not be workable for all Members. I firmly believe that most
Members are honest, sincere, hard-working, and not for sale. But I just as firmly
believe that our constituents want us to do more work in this area. That is why
we are here and for providing us with the starting vehicle, I commend Mrs.
Waldholtz for her perseverance.

And so we begin with a mirror image of the Senate product, which as we all know,
is not perfect. Clearly, this product can and should be improved, for greater clarity,
for more reasonableness and for increased effectiveness. That's what this process,
is all about. I look forward to the testimony.

Mr. Goss. May I also submit for the record, Mr. Peter Hoekstra
of Michigan's statement for the record, which he is unable to be
here to testify, but he is the Chairman of the task force on Con-
gressional Reform.

The Chairman. Without objection, also.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Hoekstra follows:]

Prepared Statement of Hon. Peter Hoekstra, a Representative in Congress
From the State of Michigan

Thank you Mr. Chairman,

As head of the recently appointed Republican Leadership Task Force on Reform,
I want to share with you my thoughts on gift reform legislation and where I believe
we need to go based on numerous discussions with colleagues.

The vision of the House Republicans, and, I believe, the Democrats, is to restore
the trust of the American People in their government, and specifically in Congress.

We have been told that only 31 percent of the American public trust Congress.
While that's about twice as high as our rating was a year ago, it is still a bad rating.
The American people still believe special interests have too much influence in the
fwlitical process and they feel isolated from decision-making in Washington.

TTiie average American thinks the price tag for access to public officials is too high.
They want to see genuine reform of the political process and protect the integrity
of the laws which govern them.

We are here today to discuss gift reform legislation. While I believe this is very
important legislation, I think we must review it in the context of everything we
have done already this year to reform Washington, and ideas which we will consider
next year to further restore the trust of the American people in the process.

In the past year, we in the House have done many things to improve the way
Washington works. We proposed the Contract with America, we were elected to
enact that Contract and have done so. We kept our oromises. Next, we promised
to approve a budget plan that would balance the federal budget within 7 years.
With our actions last week, we have completed that job. Now we are moving forward
with our vision, as I stated before, to restore the trust through internal ana external
reforms of Congress.



Actually, we have already accomplished so much of this. Major reforms to the fed-
eral government have included: Balanced Budget Amendment; Medicare Reform;
Welfare Reform; Legal Reform; and Line-Item Veto.

Major internal reforms have included: Cutting committee staffs and budgets by
one-third; Terra limits for committee chairs; Reducing the number of House commit-
tees; Forcing con^ss to live by the same labor laws as the rest of the country; Cut-
ting the congressional budgets, to lead by example. And that's a real cut — 9 percent
less next year than this year.

Those who say we have done nothing to reform this institution are wrong. But
that doesn't mean we're going to stop where we are. My task force will look at the
wide universe of reform ideas and develop a reform package that the American peo-
ple can truly be proud of.

With respect to gift reform, let me say this. Having worked as an executive in
a Fortune 500 company for 15 years before coming to Congress, I can tell you that
we had much tighter and stricter rules ^veming our relationships with those out-
side the organization who had a vested mterest m the organization than Congress
has.

We were not allowed to accept any gifts from outside the organization from those
with whom we did business. Tnis policy existed to protect the integrity of the busi-
ness relationship between me and my clients.

while the work of Congress requires a great deal of interaction between Members,
staff and constituents, when money and gifts are involved, the integrity of the proc-
ess may become tainted.

I believe the Waldholtz language is sufficient to limit the influence of special in-
terest gifts, travel and meals in the life of a Member of Congress and his staff.

I view the Waldholtz language much like I view the current Ethics manual. They
are minimum standards. Each of us should evaluate for ourselves whether we are
doing enough to protect the integrity of our decision-making responsibilities, and
whether we should require a higher standard for ourselves.

In the end, we need to make sure that we have a common-sense gift reform bill,
one that does not create new and cumbersome paper work requirements, one that
does not set up traps for Members. Ethics issues in the House have become tools
for those who are trying to score political points. We need to make sure that the
new requirements are workable, that they make sense, and that in the end, they
will accomplish what we want them to accomplish.

STATEMENT OF THE HON. ENID G. WALDHOLTZ, A
REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF UTAH

The Cjl\irman. Mrs. Waldholtz, you are recognized.

Mrs. Waldholtz. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Let me say I appreciate the Rules Committee, your leadership
and your willingness to move this issue forward. It is a bipartisan
issue, as you can see by the Members of this panel.

I think it is important that we recognize it is a bipartisan issue
and that we unite in passing some reforms that I believe the people
of our country expect of us. The bill that we are discussing today
is actually a change to the House rule.

It is identical, other than technical changes, simply to conform
with our House Rules to the resolution that was passed in the Sen-
ate on July 28th. I know that this is a sensitive issue for some
Members, Mr. Chairman, not because they are trying to receive
gifts but because of just the very opposite.

This is a sensitive issue in that in the short time that I have
been here, I have come to believe that the vast Majority of our col-
leagues are not only honest and hard-working but who are cer-
tainly not becoming wealthy through their service in the Congress,
either through the benefits that they receive here or through what
they receive from lobbyists or from anyone else.

But I do believe, Mr. Chairman, that the sensitivity is perhaps
a little bit misplaced in that I understand that people are con-
cerned that this has raised ethical questions, that they don't want



6

to feel as though fingers are being pointed. It is certainly aggravat-
ing to be accused of doing something of which you are innocent,
and I think that is where some of the sensitivity of some of our col-
leagues comes from. But — and perhaps we are inheriting the sins
of some of our predecessors and perhaps we are seeing a
generational shift in how the public views the responsibilities and
the duties of public servants.

But I think, Mr. Chairman, that the people of our country have
reached a point where they are not confident that our decisions are
being made without undue influence by people who have the means
to be here on a constant basis and who have the resources to take
us to conferences, to take us to dinner, when my constituents are
over 2,000 miles away and don't have the same ability or oppor-
tunity to do that.

And so I think, Mr. Chairman, that this legislation can provide
us with an opportunity to once again assure the people who sent
us here that we have their interest and their concerns uppermost
and that we are not being unduly influenced by people who have
the opportunity and the resources to influence us in ways that the
people at home don't share. And so we have attempted as part of
our bipartisan reform group to create a bill that will allow Mem-
bers of Congress to be regular citizens, that will allow us to visit
with our friends at home, that will allow us to go and have juice
and a donut with the Rotary Club, that will allow us to participate
in charity events in our home district and do all of the tnings that
good citizens do in their homes, in their home districts, but at the
same time, does away with what people are concerned about in
terms of undue influence on us with these primarily recreational
trips and particularly with the opportunity that lobbyists have to
influence our decisions.

I would simply point out, Mr. Chairman, without getting into fur-
ther detail on the bill, that the primary structure of the bill treats
lobbyists, registered lobbyists differently from people who are not
registered lobbyists. There are particular requirements or prohibi-
tions in this bill that apply to registered lobbyists that do not apply
to people who are not registered lobbyists.

We nave made reductions in the amount or the value of gifts that
can be accepted by Members. We have for the first time included
meals as gifts. We have made exceptions again to allow people to
carry on the normal life of any citizen in our country exceptioning
out, for example, gifts from family members and close personal
friends.

We had earlier introduced a different bill that attempted to be
more restrictive in terms of defining out some of these areas that
the Senate ultimately decided not to define. The reason that we
went with the Senate language is that we recognized occasionally
the apparent absurdity of trying to define some things that basi-
cally boil down to, do you have a conscience and are you a good citi-
zen, and are you willing to abide by the spirit of the law rather
than the letter of the law? And so we decided that it would be best
to go along with what the Senate has done as they worked through


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Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on RulesCongressional gift reform : hearings before the Committee on Rules, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session on H. Res. 250 ... November 2 and 7, 1995 → online text (page 1 of 19)