Some Democrats Trying to Kill Office of Congressional Ethics

Stephen Gutowski | June 8, 2010
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Created just two years ago the Office of Congressional Ethics, which has no real power but does investigate ethics complaints in the house, is pissing some democrats off. Some are so pissed that they are pushing to basically kill the office. The National Journal has the story:

But the real evidence that OCE has shaken things up is the angry complaints House members have leveled at the investigative committee, which is chaired by former Reps. David Skaggs, D-Colo., and Porter Goss, R-Fla. The latest salvo against the House's fledgling investigative arm comes from Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, who's rounded up 19 signatures on a resolution that would strip the OCE of much of its power and bar it from releasing most findings. Among other provisions, the measure would force OCE to seal the records for complaints that the ethics committee dismissed as frivolous or unfounded. "It's not any attempt to hide anything, it's not any attempt to diminish the committee's authority, it is not in any way an attempt to weaken the ethics process," said Fudge. Rather, she argued, the resolution would "strengthen the process" and improve "fundamental fairness." But Fudge's resolution has "zero credibility," countered Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, in part because many of those who signed it have themselves been OCE ethics targets. All 20 lawmakers who signed the Fudge resolution are members of the Congressional Black Caucus, which has more than half a dozen members who have faced or are facing OCE ethics inquiries.
It seems that some members of the house are so adverse to investigations into their activities (gee, I wonder why) that they've taken to trying to dismantle an office with no real power. You see the office of congressional ethics has no power to subpoena witnesses during investigations nor do they have any power to actually punish anybody for anything. The only thing they can do is investigate claims of ethics violations and issue recommendations to the house ethics committee. Not only that but according to the National Journal all but one of the recommendations they've made to the ethics committee have been ignored. So what exactly are these congressmen worried about? Well the OCE reports and recommendations are made public every time the house ethics committee fails to act on them. So, basically, this all boils down to a bunch of dirty politicians trying to hide even the mere mention of their corruption. They've already eliminated any possibility of actually being punished for their corruption so now they're itching to eliminate any trace of it. Most transparent and ethical congress in history indeed!