House Republicans, after a speedy and surreptitious move Monday to gut the independent Congressional Ethics Office, reversed course today in the face of wide public criticism and a mild rebuke on timing from President-Election Donald Trump.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) offered a motion to restore the current OCE rules, and that was accepted by the GOP conference.
Trump had Tweeted:
“With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it,” Trump said in one tweet, adding, “……..may be, their number one act and priority. Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance! #DTS.”
It was an ill-chosen first item of business.
PS: Talking Points Memo used readers to call their congressmen to see if they’d say how they voted on the secret ballot on the ethics gutting. According to their reports, Steve Womack’s office said he voted NO on the rule change. Rick Crawford’s office reportedly refused to disclose. No responses from the other Arkansas congressmen.
UPDATE: Crawford eventually tweeted that he opposed the change.
UPDATE 2: About 1:30, Rep. French Hill decided to say he, too, had opposed the change.
UPDATE: Westerman voted to gut ethics.