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House GOP Votes to Take Away Independence of Ethics Watchdog

House GOP Votes to Take Away Independence of Ethics Watchdog

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

By    |   Monday, 02 January 2017 10:10 PM

Ignoring the advice of their own leadership, House Republicans voted Monday in favor of a proposal to put the Office of Congressional Ethics under the oversight of the House Committee on Ethics, taking away the office's independence it has held since it was created in 2008, Politico reported.

Republicans passed the amendment 119 to 74 even after House Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy urged them to allow the office to remain independent.

Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia proposed the move, and several Republicans stood before the vote to say they had been falsely accused by the office and it has been too aggressive in making recommendations for investigations.

The proposal will be part of a package of new rules to govern the 115th Congress that will be voted on Tuesday.

If passed Tuesday, the proposal would rename the OCE the "Office of Congressional Complaint Review," Politico reported. A summary of the rules reads it "places the office under the oversight of the Committee on Ethics."

Currently, recommendations by the office are made public after they are sent to the Ethics Committee. If the new rules are adopted, recommendations would be sealed from public view.

Putting the OCE under the control of Congress is the opposite of what Democrats had in mind in 2008 when they created it in the wake of the Jake Abramoff scandal. Abramoff, a Republican lobbyist, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to bribe public officials.

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Politics
Ignoring the advice of their own leadership, House Republicans voted Monday in favor of a proposal to put the Office of Congressional Ethics under the oversight of the House Committee on Ethics, taking away the office's independence it has held since it was created in 2008, Politico reported.
watchdog, ethics, House, vote
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2017-10-02
Monday, 02 January 2017 10:10 PM
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