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And examples of misconduct. House and Senate Rules of Conduct. Constitutional Background for enforcement of rules of conduct. Article 1 Section 5 Clause 2

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constitutional background for enforcement of rules of conduct
Constitutional Background for enforcement of rules of conduct
  • Article 1 Section 5 Clause 2
    • “Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member.”
    • It is up to the members of Congress to discipline each other
      • This is the only branch that disciplines itself
        • Is this fair?
      • Of course, if they break a law they can be charged criminally
rules of conduct
Rules of Conduct
  • Congress devises their own rules of conduct
  • The rules were last updated in 2008
  • Less than 5% of Congress members have been charged with violating rules of conduct throughout our history
  • Never accept a gift that is linked to any official action you have taken
    • anything worth over $50
    • Courtesy gifts under $100 from foreign dignitaries are acceptable
      • Souvenirs…
  • Never ask for a gift from a person or organization that has business before Congress
  • You cannot be paid for a speech given in your capacity as a member of Congress
  • Cannot use staff money or Congressional property for campaigning / campaign purposes
  • Cannot use your position to gain favors
  • Cannot have a relationship with any of your staff members, any interns, or any pages
  • Campaign funds may not be used for personal expenses
    • Mortgage, household items, vacations…
  • Members of Congress who commit a crime are punishable by law
  • Members who violate rules of conduct, that are not violating a criminal statue may face:
    • Reprimand: a letter describing the infraction they committed (simple majority vote)
    • Censure: a public reading of the infractions they have committed (simple majority vote)
    • Expulsion: 2/3 vote to remove them from office

Accused members will have their case heard by a panel of Congress members from their chamber (House or Senate) who suggest a punishment. Then all of the members of that chamber (House or Senate) vote on a punishment, or no punishment

congress members who have faced punishment
Congress members who have faced punishment
  • Reprimand:
    • Rep. Barney Frank 1990: fixing a parking ticket
  • Censure:
    • Rep. Charles Wrangle 2010: see article
  • Expulsion:
    • only 20 members have been expelled in our history
    • Rep. James Traficant 2002: accepted bribes
      • Also convicted in a court of law, sentenced to 7 years in prison
  • Name:
  • Where did they represent?:
  • What they were accused of doing?