"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Gutting OCE, Part Two

In spite of what you're hearing from the "mainstream media" (and how ever did it get that tag?), it wasn't Trump's tweet that stopped the House from neutering the ethics committee:

Democrats and other watchdog groups were also critical of the Monday night vote. A coalition of more than a dozen organizations and activists expressed their frustration in a Tuesday morning letter to House Democratic and Republican leadership. Members also faced a barrage of angry phone calls from constituents.

“I can tell you the calls we’ve gotten in my district office and here in Washington surprised me, meaning the numbers of calls. People are just sick and tired,” Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-N.C.) said of the simmering outrage over the proposed change. “People are just losing confidence in the lack of ethics and honesty in Washington.”
(Emphasis added.)

And our congresscritters are way surprised at that.

It's interesting that WaPo devoted the first third of the story to Trump's tweet before getting around to the operative factor: calls from angry constituents are not something that Congress tends to ignore.

This is pretty entertaining:

Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) pushed for the weakening of the OCE on Monday. His office said it would have provided “protections against any disclosures to the public or other government entities.”

A government official familiar with the internal operations of the OCE disputed Goodlatte’s assertion that the amendment would “strengthen” the office.

“Representative Goodlatte’s statement that this is an effort to strengthen ethics is a baldfaced lie,” said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. “This will do nothing but weaken the office and weaken ethics in Congress.”

The official said the office was “blindsided” by the amendment, but noted that members of Congress have been trying to eviscerate the office since the day it was created in 2008 following the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. The official said members of Congress were particularly incensed by the office’s investigation into an expense-paid trip that 10 lawmakers took to Azerbaijan in 2013.

(Even Abramoff is trashing the House GOP for this.)

Mostly via Balloon Juice.

No comments: