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.