House Republicans Vote To Gut Independent Ethics Office

In a secret, anonymous, behind closed doors vote, House Republicans made one of their very first actions in the new Congress changing the Office of Congressional Ethics, removing the entity’s independence and barring it from investigating anonymous complaints.

Via Huffington Post:

Specifically, the amendment would place the OCE under the “oversight” of the lenient Ethics Committee and rename it the Office of Congressional Complaint Review. The new group would no longer be able to release information to the public, employ anyone “for a position involving communications with the public,” or directly contact law enforcement without approval. It would also be prohibited from investigating anonymous complaints.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the change would “functionally destroy” the office.

“Republicans claim they want to ‘drain the swamp,’ but the night before the new Congress gets sworn in, the House GOP has eliminated the only independent ethics oversight of their actions,” Pelosi said. “Evidently, ethics are the first casualty of the new Republican Congress.”

Republicans themselves defended the changes as necessary adjustments to protect members from political witch hunts.

Trump called for “draining the swamp” but his GOP House pals are setting up a system with which they can’t be investigated for ethical wrongdoing.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi issued a statement saying, “Republicans claim they want to ‘drain the swamp,’ but the night before the new Congress gets sworn in, the House GOP has eliminated the only independent ethics oversight of their actions. Evidently, ethics are the first casualty of the new Republican Congress,” the House Democratic leader said.

See the report below from CNN.

While not commenting on the content of the vote, it appears the Trumpster thinks the timing of the backroom shenanigans wasn’t all that great:

HRC Launches Petition Urging Action Against Judge Roy Moore For Unethical Comments

The Human Rights Campaign has launched a petition urging the Judicial Inquiry Commission to take action against Alabama state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore for unethical statements he has made recently regarding ignoring federal rulings on the issue of same-sex marriage:

Justice Moore has offered that the United States Constitution does not give the federal government the authority to regulate or define marriage.

In the past, he has expressed his opinion that the state should have the power to punish homosexual behavior and has even authored a court opinion stating a parent’s sexual orientation should be grounds for a parent losing custody over their own children.

It is time for his invidious actions against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people to stop.

HRC refuses to remain silent when a figure who was appointed to implement the law accordingly and follow the rules decides to abuse their power.

Please sign our petition below urging the Judicial Inquiry Commission to take action against Alabama State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy S. Moore: he has acted unethically and overstepped his authority to the detriment of the people of Alabama — both straight and LGBT.

You can sign the petition here.