Victory! House Republicans reverse course on Office of Congressional Ethics

Following widespread public outcry, wall-to-wall news stories and balking by rank-and-file members of Congress, House Republicans reversed course just after noon today and scuttled proposed changes to the independent Office of Congressional Ethics.

According to reports, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) offered a motion to restore the current Office of Congressional Ethics rules that was then accepted by the Republican conference.

Issue One signed onto a letter urging the 115th Congress to keep its independent watchdog, joining more than 30 advocacy groups and individuals on the letter — including Democracy 21, Judicial Watch and Public Citizen — to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other members of Congress.

For background, in the dark of night late Monday while Congress was not in session, Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) submitted an amendment to a House Rules Package that would have weakened the independent Office of Congressional Ethics.

This won’t be the last time — and certainly isn’t the first — that elected lawmakers try to avoid the scrutiny of their ethics watchdogs. According to Fox News Capitol Hill reporter Chad Pergram, incoming House Ethics Committee Chairwoman Susan Brooks (R-IN) says “they will address concerns about the OCE by August.”

Issue One will remain vigilant for other future changes and challenges going forward. Thank you for your support and for helping us defeat this amendment.

Read the coalition letter to Speaker Paul Ryan.