Campaign for Accountability Condemns House Rules Package Eroding the Office of Congressional Ethics

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 9, 2023

Contact: Michael Clauw, mclauw@campaignforaccountability.org, 202.780.5750

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congress voted to adopt a rules package that deliberately weakens the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) to the point of near-inoperability. Specifically, the rules will gut the OCE’s current governing board and make staff positions prohibitively difficult to fill, likely rendering the OCE ineffectual through much of the 118th Congress.

As the only independent, non-partisan entity tasked with reviewing allegations of misconduct against Members of Congress, the OCE has—for nearly 15 years—served a vital role in holding federal lawmakers accountable. Unlike the House Ethics Committee, which under the new rules would have to accept referrals from the public, the OCE has a deadline to review and investigate complaints from organizations and to adjudicate them—including from Campaign for Accountability.

Campaign for Accountability Executive Director Michelle Kuppersmith said: “Any attempt to undermine the effectiveness of the Office of Congressional Ethics is a mistake. The Office of Congressional Ethics was created in response to significant ethics scandals, including the Jack Abramoff scandal, which was one of the greatest Congressional ethics scandals in history. The House Ethics Committee did exactly nothing. It was in the wake of this scandal that the Office of Congressional Ethics was created. We do not want to return to that time. The Office of Congressional Ethics has been effective, which is why members of both parties don’t like it.”

Campaign for Accountability is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.