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Sen. Ben Sasse on Thursday introduced an ethics reform package of bills that included proposals to require presidential and vice presidential candidates to release their income tax returns and ban members of Congress from ever becoming paid lobbyists.

"Drain the swamp for real," the Republican senator said in describing five bills that cover a range of ethical challenges.

"Both parties talk a big game on the campaign trail, but then look the other way as soon as they get a taste of power," Sasse said.

"These bills are going to chafe both parties and, frankly, that's the only way this gets done."

Earlier, during an appearance on CNN, Sasse said there's probably enough in his package to "make everybody mad."

What his legislation is designed to do, he said, is "tackle the culture of corruption in Washington, D.C."

Sasse's proposals would also prohibit cabinet members and their immediate families from soliciting donations from foreign sources and prohibit members of Congress from buying or selling stocks during their time in office.

Another bill would create a public database of congressional human resources settlements, requiring transparency when accusations of improper conduct are settled.

In pointing to his tax return disclosure proposal, Sasse said "voters deserve basic information about the financial situation of their potential chief executive."

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Unlike recent presidents and presidential nominees, President Donald Trump has refused to release his tax returns. 

The bill to prevent members of Congress from ever becoming paid lobbyists would "put a stopper in D.C.'s infamous revolving door," Sasse said.

"Washington's legislator-to-lobbyist pipeline is cutting out the input of families and small businesses who can't pay to play," he said.  

"Getting elected to the U.S. Congress should be honest work, not a lottery ticket," Sasse said. 

Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSDon.

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Political reporter

Don Walton, a Husker and Yankee fan, is a longtime Journal Star political and government reporter.

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