House GOP Slammed Over Attempt To Destroy Ethics In Congress

House Republicans are suffering some seriously embarrassing fallout after holding a secret meeting to weaken the Office of Congressional Ethics.

Corrupt Politicians

Less than 24 hours before the official start of the 115th Congress, House Republicans voted behind closed doors to all but eliminate the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), an independent office established nearly a decade ago to (ironically) make sure the members of Congress were acting ethically.

In a move reminiscent of disabling the security cameras before robbing a bank, the House GOP held the secret ballot on a national holiday without any advance notice or media presence. In fact, the details of the move only got out after Virginia Rep. and House Judiciary Committee Chair Robert W. Goodlatte announced the House Republican Conference had approved the change. 

The independent ethics watchdog, set up in 2008 after corruption scandals sent three Congressmen to jail, investigated complaints or corruption and other misconduct against the members of Congress. However, the recent amendments leave OCE powerless.

Under the new rules, the (ineffective) Ethics Committee would have overseen the once-independent panel, which would have been renamed the Office of Congressional Complaint Review. Moreover, it would no longer have been able to investigate anonymous complaints, employ anyone “for a position involving communications with the public” or release any sort of information — or make a statement — to the public.

In cases where the body were to find a politician guilty, it would not be allowed to contact law enforcement without the approval of the House Ethic Committee. It would also have the power to shut down any investigation.

Luckily, the GOP have been forced to completely overturn their attempt within 24 hours — pretty embarrassing for their first day on the job in 2017.

The surprise vote to cripple one of the most important offices in the nation drew a tsunami of criticism.

Of course President-elect Donald Trump weighed in on Twitter, calling the Office of Congressional Ethics "unfair," but suggesting the GOP's priorities were skewed to dismantle it.

“Republicans claim they want to ‘drain the swamp,’ but the night before the new Congress gets sworn in, the House GOP has eliminated the only independent ethics oversight of their actions,” commented House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. “Evidently, ethics are the first casualty of the new Republican Congress.”

The New York Times reported that House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and California Rep. Kevin McCarthy also oppose the measure.

The reaction on social media was massive.











The New York Times reported that the GOP Congress was forced to back down with its tail between its legs almost immediately due to the huge outcry against the secret meeting. Outcry from politicians like Ryan, McCarthy, and Pelosi, as well as numerous watchdog groups led to the reversal of the attempt to subvert ethics in Congress.

Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters

View Comments

Recommended For You