If there’s one thing President-elect Donald Trump does better than anyone else, it’s make BIG LEAGUE moves!
When House Republicans tried to gut the ethics committee, Trump waved his index finger in their faces!
WASHINGTON ― After a torrent of bad headlines, countless phone calls to member offices, and two tweets from President-elect Donald Trump, House Republicans dropped their plans to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics Tuesday, just minutes before the House was set to gavel in for the 115th Congress and adopt their rules package for the next two years.
The amendment ― authored by Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) ― would have placed the independent congressional ethics office under the oversight of the House Ethics Committee, changed the OCE’s name and barred the office from releasing reports to the public. In effect, it would have neutered Congress’ most aggressive watchdog.
The decision to strip the Goodlatte amendment came just before noon on Tuesday as Republicans planned to begin the 115th Congress. Earlier in the day, responding to numerous news reports about Republicans gutting the OCE, Trump asked in a tweet whether Republicans really had to make the “weakening” of the ethics office their first order of business, though he also didn’t necessarily come out against the idea of eventually overhauling the OCE.
Ethics groups were quick to criticize House Republicans for the effort. A coalition of groups including the Campaign for Accountability, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the League of Women Voters sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday calling for the reauthorization of the OCE.
Several other groups, including the conservative Judicial Watch, called the move “shameful.” The nonpartisan group Common Cause even pointed out that exactly 11 years ago, lobbyist Jack Abramoff ― whose crimes helped lead to the creation of the OCE ― pleaded guilty to charges including fraud conspiracy and tax evasion. (Abramoff told Politico Tuesday that Republican’s efforts to gut the ethics watchdog are “exactly the opposite of what Congress should be doing.”)
Thank you, Mr. Trump!