House Republicans Murder Congressional Ethics Office, Because They're Already So Ethical
For a frightening preview of just how wonderful (irresponsible and awful and terrifying) the GOP-controlled Congress is going to be under Our Lord And Leader Donald Trump, one need only note what House Republicans did Monday night, under cover of darkness, all by themselves in secret, in advance of the 115th Congress convening today:
Defying the wishes of their top leaders, House Republicans voted behind closed doors Monday night to rein in the independent ethics office created eight years ago in the wake of a series of embarrassing congressional scandals.
The 119-to-74 vote during a GOP conference meeting means that the House rules package expected to be adopted Tuesday ... would rename the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) as the Office of Congressional Complaint Review and place it under the oversight of the House Ethics Committee.
As Wonkette's biggest fan Rachel Maddow says in the video below, this might sound like some bureaucratic mumbo jumbo until you READ THE ACTUAL WORDS YOU JUST READ. The OCE is completely independent, which is obviously no fair to House Republicans who might want to violate a bunch of ethical standards over the next few years, so they decided to go ahead and bring it under the oversight of the House Ethics Committee, which is run by (YOU GUESSED IT!) elected representatives, five Republicans and five Democrats. And we all know who's actually in control of Congress right now so ... hooray!
Everybody has said it, but this is the fox guarding the henhouse, or if you don't like trite metaphors like that, this is Donald Trump guarding the pussy or Chris Christie guarding the snacks or Vladimir Putin policing the internet hacking or Sarah Palin being appointed to put a stop to all this grifting.
You might be shocked that House leadership figures like craven sluts Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy actually spoke against this amendment, according to the Washington Post. But no matter, Paul Ryan didn't have control of the wingnuts in his caucus before this, no reason to believe he'd start now.
The measure was sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, and it will kill you dead with shock to find out that some of the people cheerleading this change have been under OCE investigation, hahahahahahaha:
The vote to declaw the OCE was orchestrated by several members who felt they had been wrongfully accused of unethical behavior by the OCE, according to several sources in the room. [...]
One of those was Rep. Blake Farenthold, the Texas Republican who was accused by a former staffer of sexual harassment. [Editor's note: Hey Wonkers, YOU KNOW ALL ABOUT THAT GUY.] The OCE recommended in September 2015 that the Ethics panel drop a probe of the matter, but Farenthold did not like the way the case was handled. [...]
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) also spoke in support of the measure. The Ethics Committee, at the behest of OCE, had probed whether Roskam accepted an impermissible gift when he and his wife traveled to Taiwan in October 2011.
Call us crazy, but we bet if Aaron Schock's sweet cheeks were still in Congress (and not under indictment), he woulda been one of those standing up and saying, "Yeah, FUCK a dumb office that sits around all day and investigates 'ethics violations,' like what does that even mean?"
In practical terms, as ProPublica explains in a tweet, this means the OCE will no longer be allowed to "speak publicly, get anonymous tips, report crimes [or] be indepdendent," and WaPo notes that the House Ethics Committee would now be able to end an OCE investigation, like if it feels the investigation is without merit, or if it just feels like ethics is for gaywads that day.
Let's see how pissed our Democrats are right now. Hi, Nancy Pelosi, hi!
Republicans claim they want to ‘drain the swamp,’ but the night before the new Congress gets sworn in, the House GOP has eliminated the only independent ethics oversight of their actions. Evidently, ethics are the first casualty of the new Republican Congress.
Might as well get it over with early, before it interferes with whatever other criminal shit they want to get away with.
Hi, Elizabeth Warren, hi!
Ooh, pick us, pick us! Is it elected Republicans, who maybe are feeling a little bit big for their britches right now that they've been granted temporary control of the entire U.S. American government? (Yes.)
As promised above, here is your Rachel Maddow video about this shitshow: