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Congressional Ethics

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Roll Call: Despite fears agency could be crippled, House fills ethics posts

Despite his initial concerns, Aaron Scherb, Common Cause’s senior director of legislative affairs, said that with Jeffries' quick appointments, OCE would “now be back up at full speed for the 118th Congress.”

Office of Congressional Ethics Saved Again But Must be Made Permanent

Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s thinly-veiled attempt to scuttle the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) has been turned back by quick action from Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and House Democrats. The office faced newly-enacted arbitrary terms limits that disqualified several sitting Democratic board members and outrageously tight deadlines to replace them and hire staff. Thanks to Minority Leader Jeffries, and his swift appointments of new board members overcoming the GOP effort to gut the OCE, the office is on its way back to holding our representatives accountable.

Roll Call: McCarthy names GOP members to House Ethics Committee

“The appointment of Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) to the House Ethics Committee is especially revealing,” said Aaron Scherb, a senior director of legislative affairs at Common Cause, in an email to CQ Roll Call. “When the committee is investigating Rep. George Santos’ numerous lies, fabrications, and significant ethical lapses, a reasonable observer could call into question the ability of Rep. Garbarino to be an objective investigator.” 

Government Accountability Groups: Independent House Ethics Office Must be Strengthened and Made Permanent

Today, Common Cause and more than 20 other government accountability groups urged every member of the U.S. House of Representatives to codify the independent Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) into law. The letter follows a recent move by House Republicans to hobble the independent ethics watchdog in the new rules package for the 118th Congress. The letter emphasizes that voters made it very clear in the midterm elections that they are demanding more accountability from their elected representatives in Washington, not less.

CBS News: George Santos' backers include a migrant smuggler, a big Trump donor and the cousin of a sanctioned Russian oligarch

"This member of Congress has flaunted campaign finance laws," Susan Lerner, the executive director of Common Cause/New York said. "There is no respect for the rules or the voters." According to Lerner, the personal financial disclosures made by candidates are critical for voters to have at their disposal prior to casting their vote. She says  "porous" campaign finance laws and lack of enforcement from the FEC have allowed this particular situation to devolve.

Roll Call: Democrats ask ethics panel to probe Santos’ financial disclosures

“House Republicans’ proposal will handcuff the nonpartisan ethics office, making it more difficult to ensure there are consequences for breaking the rules,” said Aaron Scherb, senior director of legislative affairs at Common Cause, in a news release Monday evening after the House GOP approved its rules package. “As their first legislative act, Congressional Republicans have decided to significantly weaken the independent ethics office. Their actions are a complete failure of leadership.”

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