Congressional Ethics

The Hill reports that

[e]thics issues could return to the House floor next week with a debate on a plan, months in the making, to create an independent ethics commission.

Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), who chaired the task force that crafted the proposal, said he has been told to be prepared for a vote on the floor next week. If that occurs, he expects it to pass, despite criticism from Republicans and some ethics groups.

Under Capuano’s plan, a six-member board would oversee the new Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). The six members would be appointed jointly by the Speaker and minority leader. If the two leaders can’t agree after 90 days, they would be named separately.

The commission would screen ethics allegations made against House members and pass those with merit along to the House ethics committee.

Many watchdogs and political observers regard the existing ethics panel as a paper tiger that did nothing to prevent several wide-ranging corruption scandals involving House members in recent years.

GOP lawmakers are particularly unhappy with a provision that would allow any two members of the OCE to initiate an investigation into charges against a member, arguing that it would enable partisan witch-hunts.

Comments are closed.