Free Markets, Free People

Office of Congressional Ethics


The most ethical Congress ever

You remember that promise from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, don’t you? “Draining the swamp” and all that.

Well, apparently the draining is going a little better than expected and the members of the Congressional Black Congress would like to see the Office of Congressional Ethics brought under a little closer control. It is starting to get in the way of their junkets to the Caribbean.

Seems the OCE is to aggressive in its pursuit of Congress members charged with unethical conduct.

Now, to be fair, much of this has to do with what the OCE should or shouldn’t be able to report, and the CBC isn’t the only group who are unhappy with the OCE:

The OCE is “out of control,” one House Republican told POLITICO. A Democrat close to Pelosi said the OCE was “way out of bounds” when it sent information to the Justice Department on an investigation into lawmakers’ ties to the defunct PMA lobbying group.

“They’re not supposed to be an independent prosecutor,” said one Republican lawmaker. “I think there’s a lot of regrets with having those people [OCE] there.”

There is some validity in the criticism. But it again underscores how poor a job Congress does legislating anything, even something as simple as setting up a ethics panel and empowering it. Now they’re stuck with a product they don’t like that’s not doing the type job they envisioned for it.

Welcome to the club – most of what Congress passes has that sort of effect in fly-over land.

It is also interesting to see this emerging in an election year. What in the world are they thinking? They’re trying to pass it off as trying too “promulgate rules for the 112th Congress”. Really? Democrats may not even have a majority in the 112th. And even if they do, aren’t those sorts of rules something for the 112th to decide?

Yet even Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) acknowledges that the House may have to take a second look at the powers of this outside ethics office, which has the authority to publicize its inquiries, unlike the formal House ethics panel, which is much more secretive.

I find it ironic that the main complaint about the OCE is they’re … wait for it … too transparent in their investigations.

If that doesn’t provide you with a little chuckle, I’m not sure what will.

~McQ

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