Trump Criticizes House GOP for Voting to Gut Ethics Watchdog
Jan 04 2017 by Irving Hamilton
- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2017.may be, their number one act and priority. Trump tweeted in a pair of posts that while the OCE was "unfair", Congress had more important issues to take up, including tax reform and health care.
US President-elect Donald Trump answers questions from the media after a day of meetings on December 28, 2016 at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. "People are just sick and exhausted", North Carolina Congressman Walter B Jones said. Things go so much more smoothly that way, no?
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Tuesday he agrees with Trump that now is not the best time to overhaul the ethics office, but that it is moving forward because members voted to support the changes.
Without any notice or debate and just hours before the new Congress was set to be sworn in, House Republican gutted the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, formed in 2008 following a rash of corruption scandals.
Accusations against lawmakers would not be made public, as they are now.
Although Trump won't take office until January 20, senators will begin the vetting and confirmation process on those Cabinet members he has announced he intends to nominate. For a party that controls both the House and Senate, and soon the White House, the initial push to neuter the nonpartisan, independent ethics panel was viewed as a public misstep.
Trump was far from alone in his criticism of Monday night's closed-door meeting which, if the measure had been adopted, would have given lawmakers the ability to investigate themselves.
Under the proposed rules, the Office of Congressional Ethics would have been barred from "accepting or considering any anonymous allegation". True, an internal overhaul of its workings may be in order.
The House of Representatives is the lower house of the US Congress and all its 435 members are elected every two years.
The OCE played prominent roles in the ethics investigations of Reps. The House Ethics Committee would also have the power to stop an investigation at any point and bars the ethics office from making any public statements about any matters or hiring any communications staff.
Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren said House Republicans were "gutting its ethics office in the middle of the night".
They now have free reign to enact whichever policies they wish upon the electorate, even those Mr Trump promises that many believe would not really happen.
So, who's the boss of the House Republicans? "We don't want people wrongly accused", she said Tuesday on ABC's "Good Morning America".