In 2012, Scott ran on No Budget, No Pay, which would hold lawmakers accountable for working together to pass an on-time budget. He kept his promise in Congress, where he cosponsored the No Budget No Pay Act, which would stop Congressional pay after October 1 of any fiscal year if Congress failed to pass a budget on time. After No Budget, No Pay was passed, the Senate delivered its first budget in four years.
Scott also cosponsored the Stop Pay for Members Act, which suspended pay for Members of Congress until the debt limit was increased. This bipartisan bill requires Congress to attend to all other obligations of the U.S. government before receiving pay in the event the debt ceiling was reached.
When partisan gridlock shut down the federal government, Scott refused to keep his paycheck as well. Instead, he donated it back to local San Diego charities.
Through the Citizens United case in 2010, the Supreme Court opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate spending through shadowy political groups, allowing the richest corporations and individuals to drown out the voices of everyday Americans. Scott cosponsored the resolution for a Constitutional Amendment to undo the Citizens United decision, and was an original cosponsor of the Government By the People Act, which would give small-dollar donors more influence in campaigns and provide incentives that would keep the playing field fair for candidates who choose to forego money from rich special interests.
In order to rein in government spending, Scott voted to restrict frivolous spending by government departments on conferences, and to require public transparency for government spending on such events.
Government transparency is integral for government accountability. That's why Scott cosponsored the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act, which would require the Government Printing Office to operate a website where the public could have access to all congressionally mandated reports – such as fundraising reports – in one place.
Scott also cosponsored the Stay in Place, Cut the Waste Act, which was a bipartisan effort to reduce costs by directing the Office of Management & Budget to reduce governmental travel by 50%.
After the IRS was accused of targeting specific organizations for political reasons, Scott voted for the STOP IRS Act, which would provide for swift termination of any IRS employee found to take official action for political purposes.
Created San Diego's first Ethics Commission: In 2000, Scott was one of a number of candidates for city office alarmed by the conflicts of interest plaguing city government. Together, they pledged to create a city ethics commission. Scott was instrumental in drafting this legislation, which has brought about one of the toughest and most effective ethics commissions in the state, and the first in our county. Since created, the Commission has audited and investigated nearly 700 complaints resulting in more than $100,000 in fines and several referrals to prosecutors. The Commission’s work has resulted in greater public scrutiny of political disclosures, greater transparency, and increased public confidence in local government.
Hired San Diego's First Independent Budget Analyst: Under the City Manager form of government, a court ruled that it was illegal for the city council to seek financial advice except from the City Manager. That limitation clearly failed us, and as part of the adoption of the Strong Mayor-Strong Council form of government, we created the office of the independent budget analyst, to provide the council and the public with independent professional financial advice separate from management for the first time. Scott hired the City’s first IBA, Andrea Tevlin, a former deputy city manager and budget director from Phoenix. She and her small staff have ensured that all of the actions taken by the city council since she took her post in 2006 have been fully informed.
Helped Reform San Diego City Government to be More Accountable to the Public: Since 1931, our government was run by an unelected, unaccountable City Manager. In the 1990s, as a community volunteer, Scott worked with other community leaders to propose reforms to city government to make it more effective and responsive. In 2004, Scott helped lead the effort to put the change before the voters, who adopted the proposals. Beginning in 2006, the city put an end to the opaque and unaccountable city manager form of government.
Led Creation of San Diego's First Audit Committee: For decades, San Diego had no audit committee at all. As a City Council President, Scott created the committee and began the effort to get outside expertise to assist. In 2008, the City Council formally agreed to include members of the public on the Audit Committee to provide greater expertise, transparency, and oversight over the City’s internal financial controls, business practices, and accounting.
Hired San Diego's First Independent Auditor: When the City Council transferred the duties of the City Manager to the Mayor, the City Auditor was still reporting to the Mayor. This meant that the auditor, who was supposed to audit management, was reporting to management. As City Council President, Scott helped create a new independent structure for city audits, so that the auditor would report to the Audit Committee and City Council, not to management. He hired the City's first Independent Auditor to promote accountability to the public and to improve the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of our City government.