The New York Times Quotes Bryson Morgan on House Republicans Vote to Gut Independent Ethics Office
House Republicans, overriding their top leaders, voted on Monday to significantly curtail the power of an independent ethics office set up in 2008 in the aftermath of corruption scandals that sent three members of Congress to jail.
The move to effectively kill the Office of Congressional Ethics was not made public until late Monday, when Representative Robert W. Goodlatte, Republican of Virginia and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, announced that the House Republican Conference had approved the change. There was no advance notice or debate on the measure.
Bryson Morgan, who worked as an investigative lawyer at the Office of Congressional Ethics from 2013 until 2015, said that under his interpretation of the new rules, members of the House committee could move to stop an inquiry even before it was completed.
“This is huge,” said Mr. Morgan, who now defends lawmakers targeted in ethics investigations [as a member of Caplin & Drysdale’s Political Law Group]. “It effectively allows the committee to shut down any independent investigation into member misconduct. Historically, the ethics committee has failed to investigate member misconduct.”
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Excerpt taken from the article “With No Warning, House Republicans Vote to Gut Independent Ethics Office” by Eric Lipton for The New York Times.