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Bowser Introduces D.C. Ethics Reform Bill

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After nearly every D.C. Council member introduced ethics reform proposals earlier this year, the member charged with shepherding the legislation to passage has created an amalgam of several bills in a new proposal.
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After nearly every D.C. Council member introduced ethics reform proposals earlier this year, the member charged with shepherding the legislation to passage has created an amalgam of several bills in a new proposal.

Ethics reform at the D.C. Council is taking shape. There have been several scandals and investigations at city hall this year, and after weeks of debate and deliberations, a bill addressing the issues has finally been introduced.

The measure would create an "independent" ethics board and slash in half the amount of money council members can raise for their constituent service funds.

The draft legislation was developed by Council member Muriel Bowser, who crafted the bill out of the ten different ethics reform proposals that have been introduced this year.

Bowser’s legislation would also require public officials to file much more detailed financial disclosure forms, and it creates tougher penalties for ethics violations. The bill omits several notable proposals that have been suggested in recent weeks; for example, it does not include terms limits, a ban on outside employment, or a ban on campaign contributions from lobbyists. 

A hearing on the bill is scheduled for next week. Council members say they hope to pass ethics reform before the end of the year.

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