Rep. Axne Introduces Ethics Reform Package to End Corruption in Washington

June 5, 2019
Press Release
As Democratic colleagues call for member pay raises, Rep. Axne introduces the Clean Up Congress Act to prevent member pay raises until Congress reduces the deficit to zero; Legislation additionally prohibits members from using taxpayer dollars on first-class flights and institutes a lifetime ban on members becoming

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) introduced an ethics reform package to end corruption in Washington and hold politicians accountable. Rep. Axne’s Clean Up Congress Act will ensure that elected officials are working for their constituents, not for themselves or special interests.  

The Clean Up Congress Act would 1) prevent member pay raises until Congress reduces the deficit to zero; 2) prohibit members from using taxpayer dollars on first class flights; and 3) institute a lifetime ban on members becoming lobbyists.

“I ran for office because I was fed up with corporations and special interests running the show. I promised Iowans that I would be a voice for everyday people in Washington and hold government accountable. Iowans would be appalled to see the level of waste, fraud and abuse I’ve seen in my first five months in office. Iowans deserve better from Washington politicians – and that starts with cleaning up Congress,” said Rep. Axne. “I’m introducing legislation to restore public trust in Congress and ensure elected officials are working for their constituents, not for special interests.”

Rep. Axne spent a decade at State of Iowa – under Democratic and Republican governors – streamlining government programs to deliver better services and save taxpayer dollars.  

Prioritizing federal deficit reduction over member pay raises

The federal deficit jumped 38 percent in the first seven months of fiscal 2019, yet Members of Congress are requesting a raise.

“In Iowa, you get a raise for a job-well done. It is up to Congress to be responsible stewards of the budget. That’s why my legislation says Congress can’t get a pay raise until we balance the books,” Rep. Axne added.

Prohibiting members from taking first class flights

Members of Congress regularly travel to and from their respective districts and D.C., and some are doing so at increased cost to constituents by taking excessive first-class flights.   

“When I found out that Members of Congress were using hard-earned taxpayer dollars to pay for luxury travel, I was appalled. Iowans deserve to know that their taxpayer dollars are being used to help move our country forward, not to pay for frivolous and exorbitant travel for politicians,” she continued.

Prohibiting former lawmakers from lobbying

Sixty percent of the Members of Congress who lost their seats in 2018 have found jobs as lobbyists within six months. This legislation would work to shut the revolving door between Congress and K Street by instituting a lifetime ban on Members of Congress from lobbying.  

“How can Iowans trust elected officials are serving them, if they turn around making millions by influencing the system for the special interests not six months after leaving their job?” Rep. Axne added. “This bill would help ensure that every decision elected officials make is for their constituents, not for their next pay check.”

Text of the legislation is available here.