Tester voices support for sweeping ethics reform bill

‘People want more transparency in government,’ Senator tells colleagues

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Sen. Jon Tester today joined several of his new colleagues to bring more sunshine to the U.S. Capitol. 

During a Capitol Hill news conference this afternoon, Tester voiced his support for the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007, a sweeping ethics reform bill co-sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Senate Bill 1, which goes to the Senate floor for debate this week, bans gifts from lobbyists, limits the so-called "revolving door" access to lawmakers by former Senate staffers, improves ethics disclosure rules and reforms the earmark process.

The U.S. House overwhelmingly passed its version of the bill on Thursday, only hours after lawmakers convened the 110th Congress.

During today's news conference, Tester thanked Majority Leader Reid for making ethics reform a top priority.

"This bill addresses the concerns I heard across the state of Montana for more than a year," Tester said.  "People want more transparency in government and they want their government to work for them, not corporate lobbyists. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to restore faith in the process."

 Tester has already put into place his own stringent ethics policy for himself and for his staff.  That policy includes publicly posting all of the Senator's meetings, including those with lobbyists, and requires all members of Tester's office to refuse gifts, meals and travel from lobbyists.

Joining Majority Leader Reid and Sen. Tester today were Sen. Russ Feingold., Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. Ben Cardin, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Robert Casey, Sen. Claire McCaskill, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.