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The Legislative Responsibility Act
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Senator Christopher Dodd inserted an amendment in legislation that enabled the now infamous AIG bonuses.

When asked about it on national TV, he simply lied about it. He denied having anything to do with it. The very next day he admitted to the same reporter that he had inserted the language.

Yet, he is still the chair of the Senate Banking Committee, a member of the United States Senate and,
apparently other than a little embarrassment, it ends there.

He is a Democrat, but the recent experience with the Bush administration demonstrates that habitual lying is the preferred method of both Republicans and Democrats in Washington. I don't think banning lying in Washington, D.C., is likely to be effective - particularly since we would be asking known liars to regulate their own lying.

What we can ask is to make it easier for us to discover when members of Congress are lying about legislation - I mean actual falsehoods about drafting, specific language, etc. Every paragraph, line, amendment, change, etc., in legislation should have an "owner," listed by name and date. If a staffer or lobbyist has language approved for inclusion by a senator or representative, their names should appear as well. The same should be true when they have conference committees to work out legislation for approval by both the House and the Senate.

We have the technology in use now in every business office to track changes and who has made them.

It is simply a question of deciding that we want accountability and responsibility as part of the legislative process.

Members of Congress will continue to lie to us, but you know what they say: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Patrick Durusau is a resident of Covington. His column regularly appears on Fridays