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Parliament and Congress: Representation and Scrutiny in the Twenty-First Century$
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William McKay and Charles W. Johnson

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199273621

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199273621.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 01 December 2021

Ethics and Standards

Ethics and Standards

(p.517) 11 Ethics and Standards
Parliament and Congress: Representation and Scrutiny in the Twenty-First Century

William McKay

Charles W. Johnson

Oxford University Press

Parliamentary ethics was originally a code of honour. From the 1990s the Commons adopted a stricter mode of self‐regulation, involving a public Register of Interests, a Code of Conduct, and a Commissioner of Standards investigating alleged misdeeds and reporting to a select committee, which may recommend penalties to the House. Similar arrangements are now in place in the Lords. Recent concern about alleged misuse of allowances has engendered reconsideration of the principle of self‐regulation. The crucible of public opinion and re‐election proved inadequate by the 1960s, when both US Houses established codes of official conduct and permanent investigative committees. That began periodic reforms (mostly bipartisan) imposing disclosure and outside income requirements, together with some campaign finance and lobbying restrictions and party caucus disciplines. Following many years of one‐party majorities, political advantage to the minority was gained by partisan instigation of corruption and mismanagement investigations, impacting on changing majorities in the House.

Keywords:   code, comity, culture of corruption, ethics, interests, self‐regulation, standards, tradition

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