House and Senate lawmakers embraced a $3,300 pay raise that would increase their salaries to $168,500. Meanwhile, it’s been reported that members of the House’s own ethics committee took over $1 million in privately funded (read: lobbyist-funded) trips last year.

Seattle Times:

WASHINGTON ? Despite record low approval ratings, House lawmakers Tuesday embraced a $3,300 pay raise that would increase their salaries to $168,500.

The 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) would be the seventh straight for members of the House and Senate. Lawmakers easily squelched an attempt by Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, to get a direct vote to block the increase, which is automatically awarded unless lawmakers vote to block it.

In the early days of GOP control of Congress, lawmakers routinely denied themselves the annual COLA.


Center for Public Integrity:

WASHINGTON, June 14, 2006 ? In the next few days, the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct is expected to recommend changes to the chamber’s rules on privately sponsored travel, including measures that could strengthen disclosure requirements and close loopholes used by lobbyists.

However, the Center for Public Integrity has found that the current members of the committee are no strangers to taking privately funded trips.

From January 2000 through June 2005, the members ? five Republicans and five Democrats ? and their aides accepted about 400 such trips valued at nearly $1 million, according to a Center review of disclosure records.

More than half of that figure was spent on the lawmakers. The members took roughly 180 trips over the 5½-year study period, reporting expenses in excess of $550,000. Among the sponsors were corporations, trade groups and nonprofit organizations


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