The Contrarian

“In the investment markets, what everyone knows is usually not worth knowing.”

Move To Eliminate Ethics Watchdog Fails

On January 3, 2017 it was revealed that on January 2, a holiday, House Republicans moved to eliminate the independent Congressional Ethics office. Of course, who needs ethics in Congress.

In defense, these Republicans said that the independent Office of Congressional Ethics was “overly zealous.” Of course, we can’t have people that enforce ethics. That would be so anti-government.

There was no advance notice of the vote. So much for open government. But Trump, after hearing this, objected. This confirms what we always say; both parties are corrupt. We need “term limits” to weed out the ethically challenged members of Congress.

The article below from ABC NEWS tells what happened.

“Trump Objects After House GOP Votes to Gut Ethics Office”

President-elect Donald Trump criticized House Republicans Tuesday for making one of their first acts a vote to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, arguing that tax reform and health care should be higher priorities.

“With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it may be, their number one act and priority,” Trump asked over Twitter the morning after the surprise and secretive move by the House GOP.

“Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance!” he added.

Trump’s comments came after GOP House members voted behind closed doors Monday to give lawmakers themselves ultimate control over the Office of Congressional Ethics, the independent body created in 2008 to investigate allegations of misconduct by lawmakers. The office was created after several bribery and corruption scandals sent members to prison.

The ethics change, which prompted a furious outcry from Democrats and government watchdog groups, is part of a rules package that the full House will vote on Tuesday.

Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who had argued against the unilateral rules change Monday night, issued a statement Tuesday down playing the change and insisting that the OCE will operate independently though under the oversight of the member-only House Ethics Committee.

“All members of Congress are required to earn the public’s trust every single day, and this House will hold members accountable to the people,” Ryan said.

Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., had pressed for a bipartisan approach at a later date, but rank-and-file Republicans defied their leadership.

The 119-74 vote reflected the frustration of many lawmakers who have felt unfairly targeted by the OCE, but it was a setback for leadership caught off guard by the swift action.

Under the ethics change pushed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., the non-partisan Office of Congressional Ethics would fall under the control of the House Ethics Committee, which is run by lawmakers. It would be known as the Office of Congressional Complaint Review, and the rule change would require that “any matter that may involve a violation of criminal law must be referred to the Committee on Ethics for potential referral to law enforcement agencies after an affirmative vote by the members,” according to Goodlatte’s office.

Lawmakers would have the final say on their colleagues under the change.

“We all know the so-called House Ethics Committee is worthless for anything other than a whitewash — sweeping corruption under the rug,” Chris Carson, president of the League of Women Voters, said. “That’s why the independent Office of Congressional Ethics has been so important. The OCE works to stop corruption and that’s why Speaker Ryan is cutting its authority. Speaker Ryan is giving a green light to congressional corruption.”

The OCE was created in March 2008 after the cases of former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, R-Calif., who served more than seven years in prison on bribery and other charges; as well as cases involving former Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, who was charged in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal and pleaded guilty to corruption charges, and former Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., convicted on corruption in a separate case.