Rep. Walz Statement on the Office of Congressional Ethics
[WASHINGTON, DC] – Today, Representative Tim Walz released the following statement after House Republicans dropped their misguided effort to gut the U.S. House Office of Congressional Ethics:
“I will be first in line to consider reforms aimed at improving the function of our government, but the process that took place last night to amend the Rules of the House by stripping the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) of its most vital aspect – its independence – sent a disturbing signal to the American people that House Republicans are more interested in accumulating power than restoring faith and trust in our government.
Giving the House Ethics Committee jurisdiction over the Office of Congressional Ethics would have made it impossible for the OCE to conduct truly independent ethics oversight of the U.S. House of Representatives. Moreover, for House Republicans to do so in the dead of night behind closed doors without a public roll call, all while disguised behind the name of accountability, not only lacked transparency, but it undermines the ability of the very people who sent them to Congress to hold them accountable for their actions.
I fought very hard for the establishment of the OCE upon first coming to Congress to increase transparency and accountability in the People’s House. While no independent watchdog is perfect and taking up measures to improve their ability to conduct sound oversight is necessary, doing away with OCE’s independence would make it more difficult to hold Members of Congress accountable. I am pleased the House GOP has dropped this disastrous rule, and I hope they will not take up similar measures to weaken ethics oversight in the future. The American people deserve much better than this.”
For more information on the Office of Congressional Ethic’s mission and history, click here.