The House Republicans has agreed to significantly restrict the power of an independent ethics office which was established in 2008 in response to corruption scandals which led to the imprisonment of three congress member. The decision was taken this Monday on the issue through voting.
Republican Representative from Virginia and chairman of the House judiciary committee Robert W. Goodlatte revealed the motion to effectively eradicate the office of Congressional Ethics on Monday by announcing that the House Republican Conference has sanctioned the move without giving any prior notice.
The poll took place on the eve of a new session of Congress. This act by the House Republicans’ will significantly make the investigative body powerless and will diminish their independence. On the other hand, it will enable the lawmakers to take better control over internal inquiries. The decision came while the remarkable shift of power in Washington is taking its place with President-elect Donald Trump and his staff preparing to take office in the White House.
The majority leader speaker Paul D. Ryan and Representative Kevin McCarthy of California spoke up while the controversial meeting was taking place. The vote on the decree of the Full House is set to take place on Tuesday which will hold till the succeeding congressional elections take place.
In a statement on Monday evening, Mr. Goodlatte defended the action saying it will reinforce ethics supervision in the House and will enable the lawmakers to protect themselves better against overenthusiastic efforts by the Office of Congressional Ethics. He has also talked about the Office of Congressional Ethics’ essential role in the House and ensured that the amendment will not hamper their work.
In respect to the allegations of misconduct by the lawmakers, the Republicans will form a new office of Congressional Complaint Review as an alternative set to report directly to the House Ethics Committee.
Since its creation the Office of Congressional Ethics has been controversial as well as it has faced intense condemnation from many of the targeted lawmakers including both Democrats and Republicans. This was largely triggered by the visible aggressive investigation made compared to the House Ethics Committee.
The opposition to this decree expressed their dismay stating that just before the new Congress gets sworn in; this action has abolished the only independent ethics office supervising their actions. The House minority leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California and others who had worked to create the office joined together to criticize the move.