House Republicans Vote to Gut Office of Congressional Ethics

HeadlineJan 03, 2017
H01 congress

A new Republican-led Congress meets today. In one of their first moves, House Republicans voted Monday night to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics, dismantling reforms adopted after a previous Republican ethics scandal. The vote reportedly came as a surprise and without the support of House Speaker Paul Ryan or Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. The full House is scheduled to vote later today. Under the measure, the Office of Congressional Ethics will be renamed the Office of Congressional Complaint Review and placed under the oversight of the House Ethics Committee. The move will take away authority and independence from the investigative body and give more power to lawmakers over internal inquiries. According to The Washington Post, under new rules, the office will not be able to employ a spokesperson, investigate anonymous tips or refer criminal wrongdoing to prosecutors without the express consent of the Ethics Committee, which would also gain the power to end any of the office’s investigations. The measure’s sponsor, Republican Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, said in a statement that the move “builds upon and strengthens” the current arrangement and improves the due process rights for the House members under investigation. We’ll have more on the Office of Congressional Ethics later in the broadcast with Craig Holman, who helped set up the office.

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