U.S. House Passes Presidential Ethics Bill With Inspiration from Cummings

    The U.S. House passed a bill Wednesday to tighten ethics requirements for presidential transition team members that included provisions originally introduced by the late Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.).

    The House passed the measure, S.394, the Presidential Transition Enhancement Act, by voice vote.

    If enacted, the bill would require ethics plans from future presidential transition teams that would outline, among other things, how the team would address participation by lobbyists and individuals working for foreign governments. The measure would require the ethics plans to be publicly available.

    A 2017 Government Accountability Office report about President Trump’s transition team required members to sign an ethical code of conduct, but failed to designate a transition team member responsible for enforcing it.

    “These provisions would help ensure smoother transitions than we’ve had in the past,” said Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), who became chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform after Cummings’ death.
    The bill passed the U.S. Senate with no opposition.

    “The peaceful transition of power from one party to another is a cornerstone of our democratic system,” Maloney said on the House floor Wednesday. “We must do all we can to ensure the integrity of that process.”

    Some provisions of the bill were previously introduced in other legislation by Cummings and U.S. Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

    [email protected]

    Danielle E. Gaines
    Danielle Gaines most recently worked for Bethesda Beat covering Montgomery County. Previously, she spent six years at The Frederick News-Post as the paper’s principal government and politics reporter for half that time, covering courts and legal affairs before that. She also reported for the now-defunct The Gazette of Politics and Business in Maryland and previously worked as a county government and education reporter at the Merced Sun-Star in California’s Central Valley.