Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton today made the following statement regarding the proposed change to House rules that would eliminate its Office of Congressional Ethics:
It is shameful that House Republicans are trying to destroy the Office of Congressional Ethics, the most significant ethics reform in Congress when it was established nearly a decade ago. This drive-by effort to eliminate the Office of Congressional Ethics, which provides appropriate independence and transparency to the House ethics process, is a poor way for the Republican majority to begin “draining the swamp.” The American people will see this latest push to undermine congressional ethics enforcement as shady and corrupt. The full House should seriously consider whether it wants to bear the brunt of public outrage and go through with the rule change this afternoon.
Background: Judicial Watch worked with then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Special Task Force on Ethics Enforcement to push for an independent body to help handle ethics investigations of House members. This effort led to the establishment of the Office of Congressional Ethics in 2008. Today’s proposed rule change by the House majority would eliminate the Office of Congressional Ethics and create a new entity under the complete control of the House Ethics Committee that is less transparent and subject to severe restrictions on any investigations of allegations of misconduct by House members.