Effort to Gut OCE is Irresponsible and Would Only Lead to More Scandals

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  • David Vance
Statement of Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause President

This latest effort to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics and curb the enforcement of House ethics rules is disgraceful and indicative of the need for someone other than Members to enforce those rules. This is nothing more than a coup by the foxes who want to guard the hen house once again. For too many years the House Ethics Committee turned a blind eye to too many abuses of its own ethics rules. The Committee should not be given the chance to resume its longtime practice of sweeping rules violations under the rug.

When left to police its own, the Committee has proven itself not up to the job and invariably it has led to scandals and even jail time for Members. It is significant that today is the eleven year anniversary to the date when corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff pled guilty to 3 felonies. The scandal and the jail sentences meted out to Abramoff, Representative Bob Ney, and numerous congressional staffers, led directly to the creation of the OCE. That scandal is exactly why the OCE must be preserved and strengthened—not gutted—by a House eager to once again ‘police’ its own.