Mike is committed to increasing the transparency of government and the accountability of elected officials.
Mike chaired the bipartisan Special Task Force on Ethics Enforcement, which was the body created to restore public trust in the integrity of Congress.
Mike’s work in the Special Task Force on Ethics Enforcement resulted in the creation of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). For the first time in the history of the House, private citizens have the ability to review ethics issues raised by the conduct of elected officials and staff. The establishment of the OCE represented one of the most significant steps ever taken to strengthen ethics enforcement in the House. The OCE has public reporting requirements and operates independently from the House Ethics Committee.
One of the first acts of the Republican-controlled Congress after Trump became President was an effort to abolish the OCE. Mike vehemently opposed this action and after a significant national outcry, Republicans abandoned their plan.
A New York Times editorial recognized the creation of the OCE as a “significant improvement”. Common Cause called the efforts “monumentally important” and a “tremendous improvement to the current system.”
“We believe there could have been no better Representative than you to guide this process and effect real reform… We want you to know how very grateful Common Cause is to you for your incredible efforts on one of the most important and desperately needed reforms of our generation.”
— Common Cause, in a letter to Mike after the OCE was established
Mike’s commitment to transparency and accountability brought results as Mayor of Somerville as well. He established the first local Ethics and Financial Disclosure ordinance in the Commonwealth, requiring elected officials and top appointees to publicly report a host of financial information such as property ownership, business ventures and employment of immediate family members. Previously, voters had to rely on voluntary disclosure for this information.