Ethics Office Should Be Strengthened, Not Eviscerated

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January 3, 2017

The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) emphatically condemns the proposal introduced by US House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) at a meeting of House Republicans last night -- which passed in a secret vote -- to gut the independence of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE).

POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian said:

“Ethics watchdogs like OCE need to be strengthened and expanded -- not taken out back and shot in the middle of the night. If their barking keeps you up at night, it should. That’s their job.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) were right to oppose this move. Their colleagues who voted to eviscerate OCE are not only doing the American people a disservice -- they’re also hurting themselves because it’s the only body that can credibly clear them of false allegations of wrongdoing. In fact, the OCE has dismissed a majority of the complaints it has received.

Americans today are rightly concerned with corruption in public institutions, and this action - done in private without public debate - further weakens voters' confidence that Congress will do the right thing when the doors are closed and the lights are out.

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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