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House drops change in reporting lawmakers' trips

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 3, 2014 at 4:24 pm •  Published: July 3, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — In an abrupt retreat, the House Ethics Committee said Thursday that it was dropping changes it had made in how lawmakers publicly report trips they take that are financed by interest groups.

The bipartisan panel said House members will have to continue filing brief information about privately financed trips in the public reports they file annually on their personal finances.

Just Tuesday, news organizations reported that the ethics committee had quietly decided to no longer require that information on those forms. That drew howls from open government advocates and lawmakers including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., though Republicans noted that Democrats on the ethics panel had signed off on the change.

Never altered was the requirement that legislators file even more detailed facts about each privately funded trip to the House clerk's office, which posts the information publicly on a searchable website.

In a written statement, the committee said it was withdrawing the change "in light of feedback we have received from our fellow members and after further consideration." It said the decision reflected the committee's goal of enforcing House rules "in a manner that protects the integrity of the House."

The panel released that statement shortly after House Ethics Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, said during a radio interview in his district Thursday that with lawmakers required to report travel information electronically, including it on their financial disclosure forms was duplicative.

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