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Ethics Office Takes a Step Forward

Remember the Office of Congressional Ethics? That fancy new investigative body that's supposed to sort through complaints against House members and, possibly, refer them on for further action? It'd be understandable if you don't, since the office isn't up and running yet and won't really be able to investigate much until next January.

But today there is finally some progress toward getting the OCE going, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) jointly named the eight members of the office's board -- technically six members and two alternates. The members are ex-Reps. Yvonne Brathwaite Burke (D-Calif.), Karan English (D-Ariz.), Porter Goss (R-Fla.) and David Skaggs (D-Colo.), former House Chief Administrative Officer Jay Eagen and former Federal Election Commission Chief of Staff Allison Hayward. The two alternates are ex-Reps. Abner Mikva (D-Ill.) and Bill Frenzel (R-Minn.).

Skaggs will serve as the board's chairman, while Goss will be co-chairman.

The office's role will be to take complaints and allegations made by outside groups, or published in the news media, and vet them to determine whether they merit further investigation. If the office's board votes in favor of doing so, the complaints would then be referred to the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

By Ben Pershing  |  July 24, 2008; 3:05 PM ET
Categories:  Ethics and Rules  
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Next: Good and Bad News for Rep. Buchanan


Congressional Ethics is the biggest oxymoron I have ever heard. Congress is the definition of corruption and pandering to special interest groups while accepting bribes for personal gain (e.g. special rate loans from Countrywide, kickbacks from builders, etc)

Posted by: Anonymous | July 24, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Bravo, they've chosen the foxes to guard the hen house, that should put an end to all these disappearing chickens. I was disappointed we didn't see Fredos name on the list, he and Porter are of a like mind when it comes to "investigating".
I think they should water board Senator Craig first, let's get to the bottom of all that "wide stance" falderall and boulderdash. Then it's on to Rep Jefferson and his "ice box of cash". A couple of hundred volts shot through his nuevos aught to loosen his tongue a bit. Frankly, the high point of any investigation would be John Boehner in a thirty six hour "stress position" while he answers questions about how the RNC and the Republican leadership colluded with the White House to shred the US constitution.
Oh the stories they'd tell if only we'd apply the same standards to the domestic enemies of the constitution that we apply to the Islamic enemies of the constitution.

Posted by: dijetlo | July 25, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Sorry you all, but the perks some congressmen received regarding mortgages are available to all wealthy or famous people, and the congressmen don't always know they are receiving extra perks. Private banking departments call these shots. I have a banking and mortgage background and these perks have been around for decades.

Posted by: Lisa Vant Wout | July 25, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Term limits would go a long way toward limiting corruption. Isn't Congress working on term limits legislation???

Posted by: Fed up | July 25, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Just like the president it's time we get rid of the Congress every 4 or 8 years. Perhaps every 4 years for the Senators and every 8 years for the Represenatives. These boys would be prohibited from being lobbiests, and or serve on this or that board of advisors for ever. Boy, will this one never see the light of day. There's another Constitutional way of getting these ethical issues fixed, but they require a populace in the streets and a complete emptying of the Constitutional Offices... Oh well, that won't happen.

Posted by: john smith | July 25, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

This new "office" should probably be titled "office of Congressional Lack of Ethics". or "office of Congressional Ethic cover-up". Until a complete sweep of our Government takes place, removing all corporate, religious, and financial institutions from lobbying, contributions, or otherwise plain kick-back activity, and the "representatives" related to any of them takes place, we are a nation of unrepresented people. When did it become acceptable to involve yourself in putting "special interest" above the American people. This is "greed", and corruption, not a government to be proud of. "We the People" have been screwed!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 25, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

During the first 6 years of Rushco's term, the ethics committee was absent. In fact most of the committees on Capital Hill were silent partners in allowing Bush and Co. to squander American taxpayer dollars and good will around the world.
There was no oversight of FEMA, FDA, EPA, or Homeland Security. The incompetent Bush cronies drove most govt. departments into a level of inefficiency and incompetence not seen before.
So it is just a a breath of fresh air and maybe hope that there will be accountability on Capital Hill, no matter how slight.

Posted by: CarmanK | July 25, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Who is overseeing congress? No one and theyre putting out great great grandchildren in debt.

Posted by: Elmerck | July 26, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Well, nothing says Washington like a fluff agency with no authority and no desire to do anything right. The press just gleefully picks this up like the Buchanan blackmail job put up by WaPoCo and the Herald-Tribune. How about picking up on stories that matter, not these manufactured scandals?

Posted by: stingraysintehsky | July 26, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: BoomToife | August 13, 2008 5:21 AM | Report abuse

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