Politico comments on Republicans gutting Congressional oversight:
In one of their first moves of the new Congress, House Republicans have voted to gut their own independent ethics watchdog -- a huge blow to cheerleaders of congressional oversight and one that dismantles major reforms adopted after the Jack Abramoff scandal.
Monday's effort was led, in part, by lawmakers who have come under investigation in recent years.
"President-elect Donald Trump ran on a platform of draining the swamp of an often all-too-cozy Washington D.C.," writes Politico, "Monday night's moves go in the opposite direction, severely loosening oversight of lawmakers' potential conflicts of interest, use of campaign money and other ethical matters:"
Democrats created the Office of Congressional Ethics in March 2008 after the Abramoff scandal, in which the well-connected GOP lobbyist plead guilty to conspiring to bribe public officials. Abramoff and his clients had used campaign donations and favors to sway members, including former Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), who served 30 months in prison, and a number of staffers.
Their idea was that an outside agency of sorts could take up a more robust oversight of members. Republicans, however, have claimed the group has been too aggressive in making referrals.
"The proposed change will be included in a package of new House Rules governing the 115th Congress," the piece concludes, "which will be voted on Tuesday afternoon." That doesn't leave much time for public reaction, does it?