Recent Press Releases

Washington, DC —  Senator John Thune today made the following comments regarding the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007, which passed the Senate 96-2:

"The Senate passed a comprehensive ethics and lobbying reform package that was greatly improved as a result of the passage of key Republican amendments. This bill provides transparency and accountability to a system that was long overdue for reform without denying Constitutional protections like freedom of speech to small grassroots organizations.

"Before Republicans led a successful effort to add the Bennett/McConnell amendment to the legislation, it contained a provision that would have curbed the ability of grassroots groups, like churches or gun owners, to simply exercise political expression in support or opposition to measures affecting them. With the addition of this amendment, their fundamental Constitutional right to freedom of speech has been protected."

Senator Thune cosponsored the Bennett/McConnell Amendment and advocated for its passage. The amendment passed by a vote of 55 to 43.

While passage of this bill is a step in the right direction, Senator Thune was disappointed that the Democratic Leadership refused to address other key reforms that are needed to improve the transparency of the political process - such as 527 reform and line-item budget authority that would provide additional ways to eliminate wasteful spending.

Nevertheless, the Republican Leadership secured a commitment from the Democrat Leadership to bring the line item veto amendment, sponsored by Sen. Judd Gregg, to the Senate Floor for a vote next week. The line item veto authority would give the president the power to strip wasteful spending and pork projects from spending bills. This would save taxpayer dollars and help reduce the deficit.