Editor’s Note: We wanted to continue to update you on news of the Office of Congressional Ethics. Below is information from nonpartisan nonprofit Common Cause.
An outpouring of public support helped save the Office of Congressional Ethics from the latest effort by the House to gut its powers to hold Members accountable. Republican, Democratic and Independent voters let Members know by phone, e-mail and social media that they want more accountability– not less – from their elected representatives in Washington.
This latest effort by House Members to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics was not the first and it certainly won’t be the last. Since its creation, Members have regularly tried to gut the office through a variety of means. It is long past time for Congress to make the Office of Congressional Ethics permanent by codifying it into law – instead of through House rules alone – so we don’t face continual efforts to defund, defang or do away with OCE every two years.
It is also time to give OCE subpoena power to allow it to do its job even more effectively. Voters have made very clear in recent cycles that they are sick and tired of business as usual in Washington. It’s time for Congress to recognize that voters want change in Washington and empowering OCE and making the office permanent can help them deliver on their promises to their constituents.
A letter sent today to House Speaker Paul Ryan by Common Cause and more than 30 reform groups and individuals with expertise in governance issues urged him to oppose the proposal to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics and remove it from the House rules being considered by the full House. The proposal was withdrawn.