Republicans Vote To Gut the Independent Ethics Office
Politics is a sneaky game. It can be said that many may find politics to be straightforward in how they address the public, and yet even that could be considered quesitonable. Even more so, the same could be said about politics both with the public and within the building, as this was the case with the House Republicans. Whether it was the result of infighting or an action that was the result of quite some time of contemplation, sneak attacks and blunt approaches are all fair game in the world of politics.
In order to give a bit of background to the subject, it may have all started with some movement on the decision some time earlier. According to The Huffington Post, one of the first actions of the new Congress was to plan on making a significant change in the Office of Congressional Ethics. Before the house could convene and vote on its rules for the 115th Congress, Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte adopted an amendment that would fundamentally change the OCE (Office of Congressional Ethics). Specifically, the amendments would place the OCE under the "oversight" of the lenient Ethics Committee, renaming it among other things.
Because of these movements, the House Republicans had decided to gut the independent ethics office without any warning. The New York Times reports that the House Republicans had all voted to significantly impose a restriction on an independent ethics office that was set up in 2008 due to the aftermath of corruption scandals that sent three members of Congress to jail. This movement came with no notice in advance or debate on the measure. In order to replace the loss of the Independent Ethics Office, the Republicans would create a new office titled the "Office of Congressional Complaint Review" that would report to the House Ethics Committee, which itself has gone under scathing suspicion and accusation of ignoring credible allegations of wrongdoing lawmakers. Despite the controversy going on with this action, it has left a great effect on many Congress members. Bryson Morgan, who worked as an investigative lawyer at the OCE from 2013 to 2015, that based on his understanding of the rules, the members of the House committee could basically stop an inquiree before it was completed by effectively shutting down any independent investigation into member misconduct. He also added that the ethics committee has also failed in investigating member misconduct and that this move is quite huge in its potential to change things.