On the ethics bill, Cornyn joined 13 other senators who voted against the bill.
Cornyn had voted for the Senate ethics and lobbying reform bill passed early this year. But he complained the final bill fell short on earmark reform.
The approved bill requires lawmakers to publicize plans to seek earmarks 48 hours before a vote and certify they have no direct financial interest in the funding they seek.
But the bill also allows the majority leader and Appropriations Committee chairman to certify that legislation meets the rule without earmarks being disclosed to the public, Cornyn said.
"The principle we are standing for here today makes it clear I am on the side of reforming the system, not the status quo," Cornyn said at a news conference.
"John Cornyn had a chance to show leadership on a bipartisan issue today, but instead he sided with a tiny fringe that opposes ethics and lobbying reform," said Matthew Miller, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman.
Cornyn dismissed his critics on ethics, pointing to an open government bill he has pushed for years. The Senate passed it just before the summer break.
The bill sets time limits on agencies for responding to Freedom of Information Act requests and requires agencies to provide tracking numbers and status updates for requests, among other things. The House has not considered the bill.
"I just always wondered why conservatives weren't more at the vanguard of this fight (for open government) because it is to me the most conservative of all principles and that is the people have the right to know and the legitimacy of government flows from their consent," Cornyn said.
I love the DSCC quote. Cornyn wanted a stronger ethics bill...so clearly he must be vulnerable on ethics, according to the DSCC. Orwell would approve: up is down.
Cornyn has had a longtime interest in FOIA. Which happens to be near and dear to my heart, since the first political campaign I ever worked for was for a local candidate with a penchant for filing lots of FOIA requests against the city council she was a part of. Oh...and the local establishment media types hated her. Good times, that campaign.
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