[JURIST] The US Senate Rules and Administration Committee [official website] has unanimously approved the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2006 [summary, PDF; committee materials], which incorporates only modest curbs on privately financed trips and earmarks. If the bill is passed by the full Senate, it will require senators to disclose all travel on corporate jets and receive advance clearance for privately financed trips. The bill also subjects earmarks to a 60-vote threshold. If an earmark, a special-interest provision that legislators include in bills, is challenged and does not receive 60 votes, the Senate would strike it from body of the proposed legislation. The bill did not include strict restrictions proposed by some lawmakers.
This move comes two months after the Jack Abramoff [JURIST news archive] corruption scandal and is the first step towards revising current lobby law. Intense disagreements still remain among lawmakers as to what changes are necessary, and several ethics reform [JURIST news archive] proposals for lobbyists have recently been introduced. The New York Times has more.