Congress policing itself

The Times reports on ethics scandals in Congress.

Leo Wise, a former federal public integrity prosecutor who is now the director of the House ethics office, said in an interview that House leaders had given his office the resources it needed, with a budget of $1.5 million and seven full-time staff members, and that “over all, their approach has been hands off” to eliminate political interference in its work.

The ethics office’s caseload steadily increased in its first six months of existence, disclosure reports show, but its investigations have already caused a bit of a backlash.

. . .

Kenneth A. Gross, a Washington lawyer who specializes in government ethics, said the increased activity had made politicians, lobbyists and corporations much more cautious about adhering to the rules, whether it involved staying under a $50 lunch limit or disclosing lobbying ties and income sources.

Now, he said, “the rules of the road have changed.”

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