House Republicans signaled the kind of government they are interested in running when they secretly voted to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. According to President-elect Donald Trump and various members of the Republican Party, the Office of Congressional Ethics has treated politicians accused of ethical misconduct unfairly. To rectify the situation, the Republicans met to institute new rules that would give the House of Representatives control of its own oversight. The brutal backlash sparked by the news of the vote stopped the Republicans from officially passing the reform.
What did the vote and the reasoning given by key House Republicans actually mean?
To put it bluntly, there is trouble ahead for good governance and transparent democracy.
The Office of Congressional Ethics was established by the House of Representatives 10 years ago to address growing concern over ethical misconduct. The office investigates allegations against representatives and their staff. The independence of the agency is guaranteed because it investigates and decides cases without oversight from the House Committee on Ethics.
Some Republicans have called this unfair.
55 She told CNN that the new rules “8 individuals with the opportunity to have some due recourse and to know who is accusing them
The problem with Rep. Blackburn’s opinion, however, is that anonymity provides important protections against possible threats against complainants and witnesses. Removing oversight would give House Republicans the key to managing their own ethical conduct.
For the Republicans, the best way to address their troubles is to meet under cover of night to give themselves authority to preside over investigations related to their own misconduct.
Now isn’t that democratic.
The media backlash was swift, with Democrats and pundits alike attacking the proposed measures. Shortly after, our tweeter-in-chief and President-elect, Donald Trump appeared to blast his own party over the move. However, he did not say that the overhaul of the Office of Congressional Ethics was a wrong move. Instead, he expressed that he’d like to see other priorities addressed. Perhaps the next president would like for the Republicans to wait until he is in office to begin gutting ethical oversight of our lawmakers.
The vote itself and the rhetoric around ethical misconduct employed by Donald Trump and House Republicans indicates a worrisome trend and a taste of what the next four years will look like in the United States.