New Ethics Rules
USA Today reports colleges, universities and higher education groups are exempted from the rules that took effect this month. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office tells the paper that lawmakers wanted the exemption so they could deliver commencement speeches.
But the loophole covers all travel funded by academic interests — not just for commencements. The report says education groups spent at least 75 million on federal lobbying efforts in 2005 — and more than 900,000 on lawmaker travel since 2000. The Senate is considering an ethics rule with a similar exemption.