Target: Speaker Paul Ryan
Goal: Block efforts to dismantle the Office of Congressional Ethics.
Update: After a nationwide public outcry against abolishing the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, members of the House of Representatives reversed their original vote. This is a victory for democracy, but it is highly disturbing that Republicans in Congress ever attempted to eliminate this government watchdog body in the first place. Please sign the petition below and condemn attacks on the Office of Congressional Ethics.
In a secret ballot, Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to abolish the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), the only independent, non-partisan, body that investigates congressional corruption. The vote places the OCE under the jurisdiction of the Republican-controlled House Ethics Committee, which has previously faced accusations that it ignored allegations of corruption. Additionally, the OCE will no longer be allowed to receive anonymous complaints and will not be permitted to make its findings public.
The House held the vote over the New Year’s holiday with little warning and no debate. The Republicans control three branches of government, giving the party a large amount of power to enact their legislative agenda. This agenda involves a number of programs and policies such as proposed spending on infrastructure which has been the focus of intense corporate lobbying. Removing independent oversight may well open the way for an unprecedented level of corruption. Sign our petition and demand that the House rejects all plans to undermine independent investigations into corruption.
Dear Speaker Ryan,
I was dismayed to hear that Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives have voted to severely limit the Office of Congressional Ethics, undermining both the independence and transparency of investigations into congressional corruption. As you know, the OCE was established in response to real and present corruption in the House. Its independence, nonpartisan nature, and public reporting of investigations were key components of its effectiveness. If these rules are passed by the full House, the OCE will effectively be defunct.
The agenda for the coming administration contains a number of large infrastructure projects as well as a number of other large contractual and legislative issues. Many of these issues have been the focus of intense lobbying efforts on behalf of corporate and institutional interests. Without OCE oversight, this agenda exposes America to unprecedented risks of corruption at the highest levels of government. I urge you to ensure that these proposed reforms to the OCE fail.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Lawrence Jackson