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Amid Chris Collins Scandal, Pelosi Vows Ethics Overhaul Under Democratic Majority

Democrats also want to rewrite campaign finance laws

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says a Democratic majority would overhaul ethics and campaign finance laws. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., says a Democratic majority would overhaul ethics and campaign finance laws. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Pointing to New York Rep. Chris Collins’s indictment as an example of corruption in the Republican-controlled Congress, House Minority Nancy Pelosi vowed Thursday that if Democrats retake the House they will overhaul ethics and campaign finance laws. 

Collins was indicated on charges of securities fraud, which Pelosi said “shows that Republicans have turned the already swampy GOP Congress into a cesspool of self-enrichment, secret money and special interests.”

The minority leader’s comments came in a Dear Colleague letter urging House Democrats to highlight the part of the caucus’s rebranded “For the People” agenda that calls for cleaning up corruption in Washington. 

The Democratic Caucus held a conference call Wednesday in the wake of the news about Collins’s indictment in which the co-chairs of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee urged members to highlight Democrats’ proposals for cleaning up Washington throughout the August recess.

Watch: Collins’ Challenger: We Raised More This Morning Than ‘In the Whole Race’

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“A Democratic Majority will swiftly act to pass tougher ethics and campaign finance laws and crack down on the conduct that has poisoned the GOP Congress and the Trump Administration,” Pelosi said. 

“In district events and on social media, we must drive home the clear contrast between the corruption of the GOP Congress and the Better Deal that Democrats are offering the American people,” the California Democrat added. “We must OWN AUGUST with our pledge to deliver action.”

Democrats’ proposals include reining in the influence of lobbyists and high-dollar donors and ending the unlimited corporate money in political campaigns paved by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

Pelosi pointed out that Democrats won the majority in 2006 in party by highlighting “the Republicans’ pattern of corruption, cronyism and incompetence, under the frame ‘Drain the Swamp.’”

“In the Majority, we acted on that promise by passing a strong ethics package,” she said.  “Donald Trump hijacked the name and totally betrayed the mission.”

The DPCC co-chairs held a press call Thursday morning to highlight the same issues Pelosi did in her letter. 

“I know that people I talk with in the grocery store aisles, they’re tired of all of this going on; they’re tired of Washington Republicans like President Trump and Congressman Chris Collins turning America into a nation that appears to be of the rich, by the powerful and for the lobbyists,” Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos said on the call.

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