A media-made mess
The House Republicans sure do know how to get the ball rolling on a new session. They kept control, but still can’t seem to operate properly! Someone seriously needs to provide a proper communications course for all Republicans in D.C. In one of their first moves, the House Republicans caused a fuss over the weekend after Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) proposed changes to an independent watchdog group, the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE).
According to the media, House Republicans gutted their own independent watchdog group and that Republicans wanted more power. In other words, mass hysteria!
A close look at the amendment, which I notice missing from many articles, shows that Goodlatte actually attempted to strengthen the OCE by pushing it farther from the House, thus making it even more independent, and making sure the board does not violate the rights of those accused.
But if the Republicans had rolled out the idea a tad better, they may have avoided the backlash and not been forced to retreat with their tails between their legs.
Goodlatte’s amendment makes a lot of sense, but the Republicans presented it without much explanation. Instead, the wording allowed the media to jump to those conclusions.
The amendment actually fixes problems that have plagued the OCE. First off, Goodlatte proposed changing the name to the Office of Congressional Complaint Review to stop confusion with the House Ethics Committee (HEC) and to prove it does not have the same responsibilities as HEC.
The other change would’ve helped to stop corruption within the committee and protect people from false accusations. I know, how dare Goodlatte do that, right? Everyone is allowed due process so why should they exclude those in office? He wrote (emphasis mine):
The board of the Office shall include in its rules provisions to protect the due process of individuals who are the subject of a preliminary review or second-phase review by the board, and of witnesses, including informing such individuals and witnesses of the right to be represented by counsel and ensuring that the invocation of that right will not be held negatively against them.
The Office may not take any action that would deny any person any right or protection provided under the Constitution of the United States.
Goodlatte proposed that those on the board not make public statements about those under investigation “or release any information or other material to the public or any other entity” unless the entire committee authorizes the action.
Oh, another thing. The amendment states that if the committee receives a complaint involving “a violation of a criminal law, the Board will immediately refer the matter to the Committee on Ethics for further review or (if determined appropriate by the Committee on Ethics) referral to an appropriate law enforcement agency.”
But FAKE NEWS. Of course, President-elect Donald Trump tweeted:
Then, everyone flipped out when it was reported that Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) did not approve of the amendment. However, Ryan actually met with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), arguing “against making a unilateral ethics change in a meeting on Monday, pressing for a bipartisan approach at a later date.”DONATE
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