In The News
The two bills will “further degrade public confidence in our democracy, in effect making it harder to vote and easier for big money donors to influence our politics,” stated a letter authored by Democrats on a House Democracy Reform Task Force headed by Maryland’s John Sarbanes…. Neither bill makes particularly good sense. The presidential public financing system, while largely dysfunctional and ignored by major party candidates, could be restored with a few common-sense tweaks. But of the two, the GOP’s move to nix the EAC is the more blatantly silly. In the wake of an election that has prompted a congressional investigation into Russian hacking, one might expect Republicans to double the agency’s relatively paltry $10 million budget. Instead, they are moving to shut it down.
“They put this executive order out, they didn’t tell the agencies what to do with it — that’s why you got chaos and confusion all over the place. So even when they’re doing something that doesn’t make sense, they don’t know how to do that well,” says Rep. Sarbanes.
What might this guerrilla ethics warfare look like? One person who is in a good position to shed light on this is Dem Rep. John Sarbanes, who has been appointed by Dem leader Nancy Pelosi to chair the newly-created “Democracy Reform Task Force,” which is an effort to hold Trump accountable for his conflicts wherever possible. In an interview with me, Sarbanes laid out a few ideas.
U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, along with Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen and others, gathered Wednesday to discuss the "Extol and Enroll" initiative through the Maryland Health Connection…. The program will feature 12 free informational sessions designed to teach people about health care and how to sign up. The sessions will be held at various faith-based locations throughout the state…. "In the United States of America, it should not be that health care is the privilege of a fortunate few. Health care should be the right of every single citizen," Rep. John Sarbanes said.
With less than two weeks left to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act, advocates and officials launched their last push to draw Maryland residents…. The act insured more than 400,000 Marylanders last year, or about one in six people in the state… The state's uninsured rate in 2016 was about 6.6 percent, about half what it was before the law began insuring people in 2014…. "Behind the numbers are important stories," said Democratic Rep. John Sarbanes of Baltimore County. To relay the importance of insurance coverage, "we need citizen-to-citizen testimonials."
Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Baltimore County, directly compared King and Obama through what he saw as shared priorities…. "It's altogether fitting and proper to think of their joint legacy and it's a legacy of lifting people up," he said. He also seemed to allude to Trump when he urged the crowd to protect and support those who are the victims of "self-centered men tearing people's dignity down."
Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), the leading House proponent of campaign-finance and ethics reforms, will lead House Democrats’ Democracy Task Force. In the last Congress, the task force focused on discussion and promotion of campaign-finance, lobbying and ethics reforms, and was led by former Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.). Sarbanes will continue those efforts, while expanding the task force as an organizing body for Democrats responding to Trump’s conflicts…. “We’re going to kind of keep Trump and his crowd ― keep their feet to the fire on this,” Sarbanes told The Huffington Post.
On Thursday, after Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the finalization of the consent decree, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings joined U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, and Congressmen John Sarbanes and Dutch Ruppersberger (all D-MD) in issuing the following statement: “Last summer’s DOJ report—which detailed systemic, repeated violations of the constitutional rights of Baltimore City residents—confirmed what many already knew to be true: the sacred trust between the Baltimore City Police Department and the people they are sworn to protect is in desperate need of repair…. We are very pleased to hear that the consent decree will be filed in court today, and applaud everyone who worked diligently these past several months to ensure that these negotiations move forward with the urgency they demand….”
Trump continued to insist that none these measures were required by law and that he was making these moves voluntarily…. In response, House Democrats plan to launch a “Democracy Reform Task Force” that aims to hold Trump accountable for conflicts of interest and ethical lapses. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has tapped Maryland Congressman John Sarbanes, a leading proponent of ethics reform, to head the task force…. Trump’s plan “doesn’t come close to solving the problems that these conflicts of interest present,” Sarbanes says in an interview with the Prospect. “This notion that giving it to his sons to look after is absurd as representing any real distancing from these conflicts…. Without fully divesting ownership, there’s no way to avoid potential for divided loyalties. When he goes to make a decision [as president], somewhere in his brain, if he still has business ownership, he’s got to be thinking if the decision as president will hurt or benefit his business,” Sarbanes adds.
Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) called the rule "political theatre." ... "With the inclusion of the Holman Rule in the House rules package, House Republicans have made it clear that they plan to continue their assault on our nation’s civil servants and to subject hardworking federal employees to the ideological and political whims of Congress," Sarbanes said in a statement.