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house Bill H.R. 161

Should Cabinet Members & Their Families Be Prohibited From Soliciting Foreign Money?

Argument in favor

Cabinet members shouldn’t be allowed to use their political positions to solicit funds from overseas, as this could compromise them. Integrity is essential to a government that serves America’s interests, and this bill helps ensure Cabinet members are ethical in their dealings with foreign entities.

SneakyPete's Opinion
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01/20/2019
“WHY JUST THE CABINET???? WHY NOT “ALL” CONGRESS?” I’d be in support of this House bill H.R.161 AKA the Cabinet Service Integrity Act, WHICH would prohibit NOT only Cabinet members BUT ALL Congressional members and their their immediate families from soliciting donations from foreign sources. It’d aim to ensure that not only high-ranking federal Cabinet officials but ALSO ALL elected Congressional members couldn’t use their office or status as influential political officials to solicit funds from overseas entities. This bill, the Cabinet Service Integrity Act, would prohibit Cabinet members and All Congressional and their immediate families from soliciting donations from foreign sources. Its aim is to ensure that high-ranking Federal & elected Congressional officials couldn’t use their office or status as influential political officials to solicit funds from overseas entities. SneakyPete ..... 👍🏻🤔🤔🤔👍🏻. 1*20*19.....
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Curtis's Opinion
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01/20/2019
Without question. Should apply to the President’s family as well. Root out the corruption.
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Ken's Opinion
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01/20/2019
To say that elections can't be bought while at the same time accepting money from lobbyists, foreign and domestic in order to influence someone or a group of people is bogus. I would like integrety, honesty, and wisdom to be major factors as to who represents us in congress or the office of president. If money influences how we vote and how congress votes then get money out. Good luck on that one.
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Argument opposed

While it’s reasonable to expect that Cabinet members conduct themselves in an ethical manner by not accepting foreign money, it’s overreach to extend this limitation to their families. There’s also an argument to be made that federal officials aren’t banned from accepting payments from foreign sources.

Tooluser1's Opinion
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01/20/2019
Not unless we're going to include ALL Federal level officials, functionaries and their families as well. Equal Protection Under the Law ALSO means no *higher* standards for some, but not for others.
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Bernie's Opinion
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01/20/2019
Only if members of Congress are also prohibited. “Elections can’t be bought”. Who spent more last election? There are 4,000,000,000,000 reasons every year why getting the “money out of politics” is a myth. Members of Congress come to DC with very little and leave with 10 figure portfolios. The dirty little secret is that the Democrats are richer than the Republicans in Congress.
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Samuel's Opinion
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01/20/2019
I believe that it should be illegal for any federal officer or office holder and their family members to accept either gifts or financial contributions from representatives of foreigner interest and/ or domestic organizations. Accepting gifts or financial gifts from individuals who are attempting to influence either legislation, rules, funding or administrative decisions would be illegal for any federal office holder and federal government officer. Any office holder or administrative officer who accepts a gift or financial reward would be subject to removal and a monetary fine equal to value of gift or financial reward accepted.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
    IntroducedJanuary 3rd, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 161?

This bill, the Cabinet Service Integrity Act, would prohibit Cabinet members and their immediate families from soliciting donations from foreign sources. It’d aim to ensure that high-ranking federal officials couldn’t use their office or status as influential political officials to solicit funds from overseas entities. 

Impact

Cabinet members; Cabinet members’ families; foreign entities; and government ethics.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 161

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to prohibit cabinet members and their immediate family from soliciting donations from foreign sources. When he reintroduced this bill as part of a package of anti-corruption legislation intended to significantly reform Congress and increase executive branch accountability and transparency, Rep. Fitzpatrick said:

“I believe that these ideas introduced today transcend political parties and strike at the heart of what our country needs: a rebirth of belief in our leaders and institutions so we can tackle the challenges we face and accomplish great things in this new era… Transparency and unimpeachable integrity are essential to a government that truly serves the people of the United States. This anti-corruption legislation will help restore the American’s people’s faith in Congress and hold public officials accountable.”

Under the Trump administration, the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) has argued that federal officials aren’t banned from accepting payments from foreign governments without congressional approval. In a motion to dismiss a case brought by watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the DOJ argued:

“Historical evidence confirms that the Emoluments Clauses were not designed to reach commercial transactions that a President (or other federal official) may engage in as an ordinary citizen through his business enterprises. At the time of the Nation’s founding, government officials were not given generous compensations, and many federal officials were employed with the understanding that they would continue to have income from private pursuits.”

Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Ismailciydem)

AKA

Cabinet Service Integrity Act

Official Title

To prohibit immediate family members of heads of certain agencies and departments from soliciting or otherwise raising funds from certain foreign entities.

    “WHY JUST THE CABINET???? WHY NOT “ALL” CONGRESS?” I’d be in support of this House bill H.R.161 AKA the Cabinet Service Integrity Act, WHICH would prohibit NOT only Cabinet members BUT ALL Congressional members and their their immediate families from soliciting donations from foreign sources. It’d aim to ensure that not only high-ranking federal Cabinet officials but ALSO ALL elected Congressional members couldn’t use their office or status as influential political officials to solicit funds from overseas entities. This bill, the Cabinet Service Integrity Act, would prohibit Cabinet members and All Congressional and their immediate families from soliciting donations from foreign sources. Its aim is to ensure that high-ranking Federal & elected Congressional officials couldn’t use their office or status as influential political officials to solicit funds from overseas entities. SneakyPete ..... 👍🏻🤔🤔🤔👍🏻. 1*20*19.....
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    Not unless we're going to include ALL Federal level officials, functionaries and their families as well. Equal Protection Under the Law ALSO means no *higher* standards for some, but not for others.
    Like (83)
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    Without question. Should apply to the President’s family as well. Root out the corruption.
    Like (196)
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    To say that elections can't be bought while at the same time accepting money from lobbyists, foreign and domestic in order to influence someone or a group of people is bogus. I would like integrety, honesty, and wisdom to be major factors as to who represents us in congress or the office of president. If money influences how we vote and how congress votes then get money out. Good luck on that one.
    Like (144)
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    Seriously, this is a question? Of course, they should. What is this world coming to? Hopefully, this applies to the President and Congress, too. In this day and age, I’m not sure what the rules are anymore!
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    Wow! Yes. This should already be in place. Cabinet members should serve in the interest of the nation without even the appearance of other considerations.
    Like (49)
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    Absolutely and it should apply to every individual that works for the federal government. It’s just bad optics.
    Like (48)
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    Yes. If they need to be told this or have a law to prohibit them soliciting foreign money, they should not have been given the job to begin with. This law should apply to everyone including the president, vp and others who work in WH.
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    YES PROHIBIT CORRUPTION TO THE HILT !!! I DO NOT WANT ANY MORE INCENTIVES FOR POLITICAL CORRUPTION THAN WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE WHICH IS FAR TOO MUCH AS IT IS !!!
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    Let’s put an end to soliciting donations, period. I am tired of my representatives being for sale!
    Like (31)
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    This is an absolute YES! It should apply to everyone from the Executive Office, (and families), Cabinet members, (and families), to all representatives (and families), and all federal employees (and families). However, the Emoluments Clause, (Article 1, Section 9, Paragraph 8, of our Constitution), specifically prohibits federal officeholders from receiving gifts, payment or other things of value. This bill expands to include family members would provide total transparency. It must be pointed out, the Emoluments Clause has been totally disregarded by #45, his top two advisors, (Mr. & Mrs. Ivanka), and his son’s, (Don Jr. & Eric). Now it falls to Congress to make sure everyone follows it; including #45, his personal businesses and his family members.
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    We need to get big money interests out of politics, particularly manipulations by foreign oligarchs. How do we get our government to start serving the people instead of themselves?
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    They’re not already? Or was this just a “ethical thing” that normal decent people already didn’t do that now has to be a law because of the Manchurian fly lord and his maggots?
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    Yes. And applied retroactively to Trump and his family and relatives.
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    Only if members of Congress are also prohibited. “Elections can’t be bought”. Who spent more last election? There are 4,000,000,000,000 reasons every year why getting the “money out of politics” is a myth. Members of Congress come to DC with very little and leave with 10 figure portfolios. The dirty little secret is that the Democrats are richer than the Republicans in Congress.
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    You mean should it be illegal to tell people you’re for sale? Yeah without a doubt. I don’t know why the obvious questions seem like stuff that should already be illegal and at the very least be made public knowledge.
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    I thought this was already a law -that a government official couldn’t take money directly from a foreign government? It was not allowed when I was working for the government. But, absolutely no US government official should be allowed to take money or gifts (above value of set, small, amount) from any foreign government official. It avoids the appearance of inappropriate behavior. And the US does not need to be bought by any foreign government.
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    Conduct and Ethics, a course taught every year to regular government joes. Just like sexual harassment do’s and don’t, it’s required attendance. Maybe it’s time ALL government employees attend, even the ones that set the guidelines....
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    Times have changed since the original Congress. Compensation is improved, and communication and money transfer internationally has dramatically improved, even exponentially. The ability to benefit from foreign interactions, which may not always be in the interests of the nation rather than the individual (and can even put the individual Congress person at risk of foreign pressure), have thus likewise increased. While most (hopefully all) of our Congress people are honest and there for public service, this bill seems like a good reasonable approach to keep the risk of possible nonethical actions further at bay.
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    I agree with SneakyPete on this, not only cabinet level officials but congress must be included to. HR 161 is a good start but must be amended to include those on the hill. Just look at the trip of congressional Democrats to Puerto Rico with all the lobbyists and corporate folks; the swamp in all its putrid glory. This is exactly why we elected Trump, to stop this type of behavior. #MAGA
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