January 3, 2017

The Update Desk: Ethics, Shmethics

Well, well, well.  They blinked, the House Republicans did.

In yesterday's post, I let you know that the House GOP Conference thought it was critically important to relax the ethics investigation process by moving the Office of Congressional Ethics under the House Ethics Committee, and changing its name to the Office of Hiding Stuff Under the Carpet, er, I mean, the Office of Congressional Complaint Review.

The move, termed a surprise by many, was put forward by Virginia's Bob Goodlatte, who is chair of the House Judiciary Committee, as part of a rules-change package.  He had lots of fluttery reasons why it was a good idea for the members: to protect them from bad people like you and me who might perceive an ethical violation and want someone to look at it; to make the process more like a proceeding in a court of law vs. a review by an independent ethics group charged with making sure the House acted appropriately; to make sure that the reports never saw the light of day; and stuff like that.

The biggest reason, of course, was that the OCE came into being during the Nancy Pelosi years, and you know what that means to the Republicans - and, sadly, what it means to Democrats.

So, after the GOP conference did the dirty deed, they were all set for the vote on the full rules package, but this little amendment was pulled.  Why? Because of  #TweetingatDawnDonald.

Now, there are two ways to interpret the President-elect's tweets, and I think you may interpret them differently if you're a fan, or if you're not.

He did not flat out say that Congress shouldn't address this issue - not at all. What he did say is that they shouldn't make it their highest priority. I get the sense that, if this were to come up again in a few months, or even in the next few weeks, the swamp-drainer-in-chief might feel just fine in looking the other way.

But then, he did use the #DTS hashtag, which we, ahem, know Trump will always be trying to do.  Dare I dream?