Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Republican Ethics Vote: What Happened; New York Times, 1/3/17

Jonah Engel Bromwich, New York Times; The Republican Ethics Vote: What Happened? :

"Why would House Republicans want to do this? The office has been criticized by many Congress members of both parties, including those it has aggressively investigated, and Republicans have long been opposed to its existence. When Republicans recaptured the House in 2010, there was speculation that they might get rid of the office then.


Representative Robert W. Goodlatte, Republican of Virginia, announced on Monday that the House Republican Conference had approved a change to weaken the Office of Congressional Ethics.CreditChristopher Gregory for The New York Times

Representative Robert W. Goodlatte, a Republican of Virginia, said in a statement that the move on Monday night would strengthen the office. He also wrote that the change “improves upon due process rights for individuals under investigation.”
“The O.C.E. has a serious and important role in the House, and this amendment does nothing to impede their work,” the statement said.
But if passed by the full House, the new measure would effectively kill the office by stripping it of its independence. It would now report to the House Ethics committee, meaning that Congress would ultimately control the investigations of its own members.
The office would no longer take anonymous complaints and would not be authorized to make public statements or hire a “communications director or press spokesperson” to speak with news outlets.
It would no longer even be known as the Office of Congressional Ethics. Its name would be Office of Congressional Complaint Review."

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