Tuesday, January 3, 2017

House Fires at Ethics and Shoots Self; New York Times, 1/3/17

Editorial Board, New York Times; House Fires at Ethics and Shoots Self:

"The O.C.E. is the only House body that investigates allegations from the public, including anonymous tips. Its staff of independent, nonpartisan professionals must be private citizens, not elected officials; most are lawyers and ethics experts. The O.C.E. refers cases it finds substantial to the Ethics Committee with recommendations. The committee is notoriously weak, but at least the O.C.E., by making its work public, helps hold legislators accountable. No wonder swamp dwellers of both parties have tried to put the O.C.E. more completely under the thumb of Congress.

The public protests over the House move to weaken the office were heartening. Even the conservative group Judicial Watch paused in its pursuit of Hillary Clinton to decry the Goodlatte proposal as a “poor way to begin draining the swamp.” The O.C.E. proposal has now gone back to the House, which will likely take the rest of the session to “study” it. Americans will be watching to see whether Mr. Trump, Mr. Ryan and other lawmakers return to this rotten idea."

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