In a secret, anonymous, behind closed doors vote, House Republicans made one of their very first actions in the new Congress changing the Office of Congressional Ethics, removing the entity’s independence and barring it from investigating anonymous complaints.
Via Huffington Post:
Specifically, the amendment would place the OCE under the “oversight” of the lenient Ethics Committee and rename it the Office of Congressional Complaint Review. The new group would no longer be able to release information to the public, employ anyone “for a position involving communications with the public,” or directly contact law enforcement without approval. It would also be prohibited from investigating anonymous complaints.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the change would “functionally destroy” the office.
“Republicans claim they want to ‘drain the swamp,’ but the night before the new Congress gets sworn in, the House GOP has eliminated the only independent ethics oversight of their actions,” Pelosi said. “Evidently, ethics are the first casualty of the new Republican Congress.”
Republicans themselves defended the changes as necessary adjustments to protect members from political witch hunts.
Trump called for "draining the swamp" but his GOP House pals are setting up a system with which they can't be investigated for ethical wrongdoing.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi issued a statement saying, “Republicans claim they want to ‘drain the swamp,’ but the night before the new Congress gets sworn in, the House GOP has eliminated the only independent ethics oversight of their actions. Evidently, ethics are the first casualty of the new Republican Congress,” the House Democratic leader said.
See the report below from CNN.
While not commenting on the content of the vote, it appears the Trumpster thinks the timing of the backroom shenanigans wasn't all that great:
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— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2017
........may be, their number one act and priority. Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance! #DTS— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2017