Talk about an unforced error to kick off the year.
Washington (CNN)House Republicans voted 119-74 Monday night in favor of a proposal that would gut Congress’ outside ethics watchdog and remove its independence.
Republican Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s proposal would place the independent Office of Congressional Ethics — an initial watchdog for House members but without power to punish members — under oversight of those very lawmakers.House Speaker Paul Ryan and other top GOP leaders opposed the change to ethics rules, but rank-and-file members disregarded their views and voted to approve the new structure for ethics reviews going forward, according to a senior House GOP leadership source familiar with the closed door discussion.[…]
Rogers said there were “numerous examples” of members “who were falsely accused by this group who had to spend a fortune to get their good name restored so I think there’s been an abuse.”Texas Congressman Bill Flores also backed the change saying the panel is “out of control, we don’t even get constitutional rights, constitutional protections. They don’t tell us who accuses us and they leak the data — they are out of control.”
An argument could be made for this change if the OCE has indeed been leaking reports to harm members or behaving in a way that is, ironically, unethical. But then make the argument. Make it in the light of day and show the abuses you are trying to prevent. By slamming this into place without debate or public discourse reeks of corruption and hubris.