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Public Citizen Launches “Clean Up Washington” Web Site – Comprehensive Resource for Latest on Influence-Peddling in Washington, Mechanism to Spur Grassroots Activism

Jan. 20, 2006

Public Citizen Launches “Clean Up Washington” Web Site –   Comprehensive Resource for Latest on Influence-Peddling in Washington, Mechanism to Spur Grassroots Activism

New Side-by-Side Comparison of Democratic and Republican Reform Proposals Will Help in Analyzing Effectiveness of Proposals

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Public Citizen today launched its new “Clean Up Washington” Web site, http://www.CleanUpWashington.org, a comprehensive resource providing the latest updates on corruption in the nation’s capital and a mechanism to help grassroots activists from around the country call on Congress to enact far-reaching reforms.

“This new site provides one-stop shopping to all those who want to know the latest in this critical debate, as well as what the rules are and what needs to be done to prevent more ethics scandals and eliminate the grip that special interests have in Washington,” said Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook. “This is a comprehensive resource and a tool for reporters and citizens who want to have their voices heard.”

Public Citizen today also released a side-by-side comparison of the Democratic and Republican reform proposals. The analysis, available by clicking here, compares the proposals based on six key areas of regulation that Public Citizen deems critical to reform: prohibiting campaign fundraising by lobbyists; prohibiting all privately funded travel; banning all gifts to lawmakers; slowing the revolving door, whereby members of Congress and staff migrate to the lobbying sector; significantly increasing disclosure of lobbyists’ activities; and strengthening enforcement of the rules. The comparison will be regularly updated as more specific information about reform proposals becomes available.

The new Clean Up Washington Web site includes information about reform proposals before Congress, existing influence-peddling rules – including those relating to travel and gifts – and the history of the Lobbying Disclosure Act. It has links to dozens of reports that Public Citizen has issued documenting how special interests have co-opted lawmakers and used their influence to get favorable legislation or regulations. A “Take Action” area on the site enables citizens to easily communicate with their lawmakers, and a blog will keep people up to date daily with the latest information about the ongoing debate over ethics.

“Through this site, we offer a powerful reform agenda that will restore a betrayed public trust and give citizens the chance to say what they really think about the politicians who do the bidding of powerful special interests,” said Frank Clemente, director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division.