Reps. Shimkus and Allen
April 23, 1997
in this forum:
How much work is done in committee? Have Republicans lost their spirit? Is Congress obsessed with scandals? Is there too much
grandstanding in Congress?
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A question from Bill Lowes of Camden, ME:
Is Congress spending too much time on scandals and investigations? It seems so from watching C-SPAN, but I wanted to know how much my Member of Congress and Congressman Shimkus spend working on or dealing with the different investigations and whether these different inquiries are slowing down the work of Congress.
Representative Shimkus responds:
I spend very little time, if any, of my time on "scandals" as a Member of Congress. I focus on learning and talking to the people in my Congressional district. But, I do want to address your questions in a broader sense. Unfortunately, Washington has people who will do anything in the name of political victory. They will rationalize away what is right and engage in questionable behavior. Congressmen and citizens alike, should demand that justice be served. I am very concerned that the White House looked at confidential FBI files on private American citizens. I get very concerned when the Vice President raises money out of the White House, admits it, and the Attorney General fails to investigate. Our nation is based on rules called laws which no American is above -- not you, me or the President.
Representative Allen responds:
To date, the 105th Congress has been a "Do Nothing Congress." I believe we have become preoccupied with investigations, and have neglected legislation on the issues that matter most to working families. The House has dealt with the Ethics Committee's findings of ethical violations by the Speaker of the House and will be investigating campaign fundraising violations in the 1996 election cycle. There must be a full, comprehensive and fair investigation of alleged campaign violations and of campaign practices that should be reformed. As a member of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, I will be participating in the Committee's investigation of DNC and Presidential campaign activities. The scope of the investigation should have been directed at congressional campaigns as well. But there is no question in my mind that the Committee could serve a productive role in reforming government procedures and practices to achieve greater responsiveness to the public. In another capacity I will be working on campaign finance reform. I serve as a Co-Chair of a Bipartisan Freshmen Task Force on Campaign Finance Reform. We hope to build consensus across the aisle for reforms that will help restore public confidence in the political process.