But even as the ethics panel dropped the complaints, it recognized the public need for protection against such conflicts. The panel's co-chairmen, Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., introduced S. 1632 last week to require members of Congress to disclose their mortgage lenders, amounts and terms. Congress should pass the bill before the next financial statements are due in May.
Mortgage disclosure would help reveal and deter potential conflicts of interest. The public never would have known of Dodd and Conrad's loans, save for media scrutiny of the company during last year's subprime mortgage meltdown. And the legislators might have passed up the sweetheart deals if they knew they would have to tell their constituents about the loans.
In order to delay a marriage she did not want, the wife of Odysseus would sew on her wedding dress during the day and undo her work each night. This, of course, is just another example of the government pretending to open in one area while spreading its cloak over an ever-widening zone. The fact of the matter is that the people simply are not capable of overseeing two houses of congress plus an executive branch, plus various and sundry state, county, city, and other elected officials.
There's simply no need for a bicameral legislature where both houses are elected by the people. Either repeal the 17th Amendment so that state legislatures can oversee Senators or get rid of one of the houses of congress.