Robert Novak says there is more (or is that less) to the Congressional Ethics legislation than meets the eye:
The final version of the widely celebrated ethics bill, approved by overwhelming margins in both the House and Senate a month ago, finally and quietly made its way last week from Capitol Hill to the White House. It surely will soon be signed into law by President Bush. What only a handful of leaders and insiders realize is that this measure, avowedly dedicated to transparency, actually makes it easier for the Senate to pass pet projects without the public -- or many senators -- being aware of it.
Until now, one or two senators could block provisions not passed by the Senate or House from being inserted, usually at the end of a session, into the final version of a bill. Under the new rule, it will take 40 senators to block any such provisions that are protected by the majority or even the bipartisan leadership. That will make it much easier to enact any number of special-interest measures, the goal of all too many members of Congress.
This momentous change could not have slipped by without bipartisan Senate leadership connivance, but it was unknown to rank-and-file senators -- much less the general public.
If this is true, it is a real disappointment -- and validates continuing skepticism of the Congressional leadership's promise of "reform."