Apparently, the big Republican win in November has gone to the heads of some GOP members. After Republicans were pretty much handed the keys to the Capitol in the last election, a group of them got together behind closed doors on Monday — a federal holiday — after spending the last eight years going out of their way to do… well, nothing but block everything they could. They came up with a plan that would marginalize the congressional ethics watchdog group that monitors the activity of congressmen and helps insure the American people that their elected officials are playing by the rules.
These heady Republicans proposed ethics rules changes that would restrain the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), a watchdog organization that was established to monitor the activities of Congressmen and disclose its findings to the public. The OCE takes anonymous tips regarding unethical activities of lawmakers and reports back to government agencies and to the public.
So the first thing these Republicans do when they arrive on the Hill to start a brand new congressional session is to try to cripple the OCE. They come riding in on the coattails of President-elect Donald Trump — the man who came to “drain the swamp” — and try to disable all the pumps. What?
……..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
It’s not that they don’t have a point. Many people feel like the OCE’s public disclosures can be damaging to members who are innocent of ethics violations. But, really? The FIRST thing they do?
Fortunately, just as they were about to move forward with a measure that would render the OCE virtually useless, better heads prevailed — namely, Donald Trump’s. When social media started to blow up over the rumors that this was happening, Trump took to his trusty Twitter account and admonished these congressmen to consider using their first day back on the job to focus on more important things, like repealing Obamacare. So the congressmen quickly scrapped their efforts, thus avoiding, at a minimum, a PR nightmare.
Good to see our new president likes to show up early for work, even if it is from Twitter. But, are the American people ready to watch their country get managed through social media? More importantly, what can we expect from our representatives for the next four years if their first move is to block an ethics committee and keep American citizens in the dark?