Emergency meeting: GOP scraps plans to gut ethics watchdog after public scolding from Trump

Donald Trump is letting Americans know he’s going to hold both political parties accountable.

Trump blasted Republican lawmakers for working on “weakening” an Independent Ethics Watchdog group instead of more important national issues. He included at #DTS hashtag for Drain the Swamp to remind Congress — including Republicans — that they’d better get their priorities straight.



According to The Hill:

House Republicans voted Monday evening to change the rules governing the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), an independent watchdog agency that the House created in 2008.

The new rules would give the House Ethics Committee oversight of the OCE and address complaints that lawmakers have long had about the office and its operations.

The new rules, passed over the oppositions of Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), would restrict the OCE from making public statements, allow the House to halt investigations, and stop anonymous reporting, among other things.

Incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stressed during a conference call with reporters Tuesday that Trump is more concerned about the timing of the move than the substance of the plan.

“He says their focus should be on tax reform and healthcare. It’s not a question of strengthening or weakening, it’s a question of priorities,” Spicer said.

Democrats were already making hay out of Trump’s statement and the GOP’s move.

“Any comments Donald Trump makes regarding the ethics of public officials must be understood within the context of his own corruption, and taken with a mountain of salt,” DNC spokesman Eric Walker told the Hill.

“Trump just said it was much more urgent for Republicans to pass massive tax cuts for the wealthy and throw as many as 30 million Americans off their health insurance,” Walker said.

The backlash prompted Republicans to hold an emergency meeting Tuesday morning.

According to The Hill:

The new Congress hadn’t even formally gaveled in on before GOP leaders held an emergency conference meeting to discuss the blowback against the party’s vote Monday evening to gut the chamber’s independent ethics watchdog.

Tuesday’s meeting came after President-elect Donald Trump issued a series of tweets questioning the timing of the proposed changes, which would have put the independent Office of Congressional Ethics under oversight of the House Ethics Committee.


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