US Senator Tom Coburn loses bid to earn money for medical expenses, change Senate rules

Friday, November 18th 2005, 6:28 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn has fallen short in his attempt to change US Senate rules so he could practice medicine.

Coburn -- a physician -- says keeping his medical practice would help him stay connected to constituents.

He won support from 51 colleagues to collect just enough money from his medical practice to cover expenses. But it wasn't enough to change the rules in his favor.

Ethics rules limit the outside compensation that senators can earn. Coburn wanted permission to collect money to cover the cost for staff and malpractice insurance at his family and obstetrics practice.

The chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, Senator George Voinovich of Ohio, says he'd have to hire a "small army" of auditors and accountants to enforce the rule.