Congress ethics bill - real change or more of the same?

Both houses of congress have recently passed a new ethics bill , and it looks like it’s on its way to the president. The text of the bill can be found here , for those of you who can manage to read these things (warning, pdf!).

The question is: do you think this will actually clean up congress or is it just more fluff to placate us? Can congress really reform itself? Is it enforceable? Does it go far enough?

Personally, I think it’s a good start. It forces members of congress to put their names behind their earmarks and doesn’t allow them to allocate money to projects that they have a financial interest in. It also makes travel on lobbyist dollars more difficult, prohibits gifts to congress members and their staffs, and mandates disclosure of lobbyist generated campaign contributions. (Really?!? This all was legal before?!?)

Then there’s the cynical part of me that says, “Well, if they managed to pass it, it must not be any good.” To get it to pass, they of course had to “water-down” several of its provisions. And really, can we trust them to make a bill that’s “loophole” free?

So, are you optimistic that this could “restore our faith in the government” or are you just waiting to hear what creative methods they’ll use to get around it?

I’m not sure yet what I think about this bill, but I definitely like this part:

It does seem a little too good to be true, though.