Tester fulfills promise by launching ethics audit

Judge John Sheehy will conduct unprecedented audit

(HELENA, Mont.) – Senator Jon Tester today announced that former Montana Supreme Court Judge John C. Sheehy will conduct an ethics audit of his Senate office.

"We're blazing a trail here, because this audit is the first of its kind in the history of the Senate," Tester said.  "Judge Sheehy is the right guy for the task.  He has a distinguished record of fairness and honesty, and that's how he'll treat this audit."

Sheehy, a Helena attorney, was a longtime state lawmaker before his appointment to the Montana Supreme Court in 1978.  He retired in 1990.

The ethics audit stems from a promise Tester first made while running for office more than two years ago.  An audit was part of Tester's Code of Ethics, which also included a pledge to post his daily schedule online.  Tester was the first member of Congress to post his schedule online.  He has also banned all gifts and meals from lobbyists for himself and for his staff.

Tester explained the unprecedented ethics audit process during a news conference today in Helena.

He will send Sheehy documents and records from 2007, including personal financial disclosure forms, Tester's complete schedule, appropriations requests and Federal Elections Commission reports.

Sheehy will comb through the hundreds of pages of records using the Senate Code of Official Conduct as a guideline to evaluate successes and opportunities for improvement.  He will share his findings in a written report.

"Judge Sheehy will look for any inconsistencies or red flags, and he'll shoot me straight when he's done," Tester said, adding that he will share the results of the audit with the people of Montana.  "Good government has nothing to hide.  Montanans expect openness, honesty and integrity, and that's what they're going to get with my office."