During remarks on the House floor, Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Maryland) paid tribute to his late father and longtime congressman Paul Sarbanes who died at the age of 87 on December 6.
Sarbanes shared the 10-minute video of his speech via Twitter and added to the list of tributes which had poured in for his late father from Greek American organizations and public figures including President-elect Joe Biden and Archbishop Elpidophoros of America.
“[My father] was a tough taskmaster but he chose people that had that same set of principles and values and commitment to hard work,” Sarbanes said during his remarks. “A lot of the tributes that have been coming in have talked about him being a workhorse, not a showhorse.”
The full video of John’s tribute to his father follows at the bottom of this article.
About Paul Sarbanes
The son of Matina (Tsigounis) and Spyros who emigrated from Laconia, Greece, Paul Sarbanes began his career cleaning tables and washing dishes at his parents’ restaurant on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
He attended Princeton University on scholarship, studied in England on a Rhodes Scholarship and graduated from Harvard Law School before embarking on a career in politics.
He served four years in the Maryland House of Delegates before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1970 for three consecutive two-year terms.
Sarbanes earned a coveted spot on the Judiciary Committee and became a crucial voice on the panel during the Watergate scandal and actually drafted the article of impeachment approved by the committee that led to the resignation of Richard Nixon as President.
He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1976 and would serve for five consecutive terms, choosing to not seek reelection to a sixth term in 2006.
During his years in Congress, Sarbanes was known for backing liberal legislation, including measures to promote low-income housing, environmental protection and preservation, investor protection and consumer privacy.
He helped shape legislation affecting Social Security, tax policy and campaign financing. He did not write or introduce many bills, arguing instead that the important work of Congress is done in the negotiating that takes place in the committees and subcommittees. He was adept at the unglamorous tasks of drafting and redrafting amendments and details that could draw bipartisan support for the measures he backed.
Perhaps his most well-known legislative work was an act that made him reviled on Wall Street and Corporate America, but a champion of common people impacted by corporate disfunction.
As chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, he co-wrote, with Rep. Michael G. Oxley a Republican from Ohio, the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which was intended to ensure that publicly held businesses disclose to potential investors an accurate and complete portrayal of their financial condition.
The Sarbanes-Oxley law gave prosecutors new tools to enforce laws against business executives who mislead and defraud investors, and it was among the most far-reaching legislation regarding securities since the Great Depression.
It came in the wake of accounting scandals at companies such as Enron, Tyco International, Adelphia, Peregrine Systems and WorldCom, in which the true values of the businesses were overstated, deceiving investors who lost billions of dollars when the stock prices of the companies collapsed.
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