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An idea whose time has come? Mandatory ethics training for House members


Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Scott Rigell (R-Va.) want to subject all members of Congress to mandatory ethics training, and have proposed legislation that would require it.

Their Ensuring Trust and Honorability in Congressional Standards (ETHICS) Act would follow up on legislation from 2007 that only requires ethics training for members of the Senate, and staffers from both the House and Senate. The two members said it's time to end the exemption for House members.


"Members of Congress should not be exempt from ethics training and enacting this requirement will help restore the public's confidence in Congress," Cicilline said Thursday. "At a minimum we should receive the same ethics training as senior staff."

Rigell said his time as a Marine taught him that leaders must lead by example, a concept that is "desperately needed here in Washington."

"As a starting point, members of Congress must be held accountable to the same ethical training standards required of their staff," he said. "This bipartisan, common sense reform will ensure that all senators and representatives meet that obligation."

Under the bill, the ethics training that senators, Senate and House staff now undertake each year would also be given to members of the House, starting in 2015. That training would happen during each new session of Congress, and no later than 60 days after a member joins the House.

Several members of Congress get investigated by the House Ethics Committee each year, on issues that frequently involve the misuse of campaign funds.

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