McCain Calling For Good-Government Practices

WASHINGTON (AP) - Republican presidential hopeful John McCain is promising to hold Cabinet chiefs accountable for ensuring the integrity of their agencies and proposing to withhold money from government programs that don't meet performance expectations.

"It is essential to our party's success, and to the nation's honor that we claim sincerely the mantle of reform," the Arizona Republican says in a speech he plans to give Monday at the Oklahoma statehouse in Oklahoma City.

"We were elected the majority in Congress thirteen years ago for that reason more than any other: to reform the way government is funded and structured, and to hold it accountable for its ability or inability to address the serious challenges of our time," McCain says, six months after Republicans lost power of the House and Senate.

His aides released excerpts of the speech Sunday. It comes as Washington is consumed with scandals at the Justice Department and the World Bank.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is facing calls for his resignation, including by McCain, in the wake of an uproar over whether the firings of eight federal prosecutors were politically motivated. Meanwhile, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz announced last week that he would resign after weeks of controversy focused on pay package he arranged for his girlfriend.

McCain says his administration would frequently review ethical standards, adhere to "constant, timely and widely available" public disclosure, and give every agency's inspector general direct access to department heads and Cabinet secretaries.

"I'll hold those senior officeholders directly responsible for taking the necessary corrective measures to ensure the integrity of the departments they lead," McCain says.

He also says every agency will be required to issue yearly public progress reports, and programs that don't meet performance goals won't get funded.

"If they're not giving Americans good value for their tax dollars, they're going to have to change or they're going out of business," McCain says.