Senate bill mandates a Web site for tracking congressional travel

Information on Senate ethics bill

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Following an election campaign hyping corruption in the Republican-led Congress, the Senate passed an ethics reform bill Jan. 18 that often uses the Internet as a tool for warding off a perception of impropriety.

The Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act establishes a public Web site with information on all official congressional travel, among many other Web-based ethical boundaries. The legislation passed the Senate 96-2.

According to the bill, the searchable Web site must be categorized by member, travel date and other common categories associated with congressional travel. The information on the site must also be easily understandable, the legislation states.

“That is what the American people want us to do, and that is what we need to do to regain their trust,” said first-term Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) about the Web site.

The bill requires the sites to be running by Jan. 1, 2008.

Other provisions of the ethics bill insist on putting more details of Senate proceedings, such as committee hearings and the text of legislation before senators can vote on it, online.

An amendment from Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.), for example, would mandate opening Senate meetings to the public via the Internet.

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