(WASHINGTON)—Today, the House took a commendable step towards increasing accountability and transparency by voting in favor of an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2020 (NDAA FY20). This Pentagon ethics amendment will shine a light on when retired general or flag officers receive compensation from foreign governments through annual reporting to the public. It passed by voice vote as part of a bipartisan package of amendments (en bloc 5).
Mandy Smithberger, Director of the Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), stated:
“We have a right to know who is seeking to influence the Pentagon—whether they’re foreign governments or big defense contractors. I am very encouraged to see the House begin to listen to the American people’s demand for enforcing accountability and transparency in Washington.
“Still, much more can be done. Congress ducked on holding the military-industrial complex accountable by blocking votes on a number of ethics amendments offered. We must still make the Pentagon’s revolving door database publicly available online, close ethics law loopholes, and require disclosure by defense contractors about revolving door activities.”
Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), the sponsor of the amendment, stated:
“This amendment to the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act will help the American public understand how foreign governments are compensating former military officials to potentially drive their lobbying agenda. I am grateful to my colleagues Rep. Jackie Speier and Sen. Elizabeth Warren for their leadership on this issue and for introducing the Department of Defense Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act, which includes the amendment I have offered to the FY20 NDAA. Together with the Anti-Corruption & Public Integrity Act I introduced with Sen. Warren, we can root out corruption in Washington and stop the revolving door from eroding the public's confidence in government.”
The amendment has broad support from groups across the political spectrum.